[iDC] Introduction: The Internet as Playground and Factory

Jean Burgess jean at creativitymachine.net
Mon Jun 8 10:43:19 UTC 2009

You're right, Sean - this is the nub - cars looked great until  
everyone got them.

Some of the most radical  developments in the population-wide  
extension of access to online communication in the last 10 years are  
also the most aggressively commercial (even if, as in the case of  
YouTube, they make no money).

This moment raises questions without easy answers (unless one just  
already hates the masses and/or "capitalism" in which case it is very  
easy), and I am not yet convinced either by the banal celebrations or  
any available critique.

We live in interesting times.

On 07/06/2009, at 23:33, Sean Cubitt <scubitt at unimelb.edu.au> wrote:

> This is the nub -- what is a social good?
> On 7/06/09 7:29 AM, "Joe Edelman" <joe.edelman at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I won't rest until we get to the
>> ubiquitous availability of physical resources like cars and trucks,
> Cars are not a good. As a lifelong cyclist, I know how dirty,  
> dangerous and
> anti-social cars are. And as to the ubiquitous availability issue,  
> there are
> not enough  rare earths on the planet for even China to have the  
> density of
> wasteful duplication of devices we have (even with careful  
> shepherding I
> have four DVD players in my house)
> Tye proliferation of consumer goods, and the detouring in desire  
> towards
> consumerism, is about as utopian as the desire - instinctive I  
> believe - for
> order when it becomes the fascist manipulation of anxiety towards the
> terrorised society
> "Universities, who have long claimed to elevate
> and connect through scholarships and the like, are closed to most
> participants, and can take six years and a great deal of expense to
> effect the same power shift that can be accomplished by a disempowered
> group on facebook or twitter in a few weeks."
> The kind of change we bring about in education is rather longer term  
> than
> what can be achieved on Twitter. We have, admittedly, the luxury of  
> thinking
> forty years into the future -- the likely working life of a student
> graduating today.That means we balance between the usual corporate  
> horizon
> of three to five years (like any other business) and the longer  
> term, which
> entrepreneurs and corporations cannot afford to thing about. More
> critically, the more "advanced' capital gets, the more *schools* -  
> by which
> I mean schooling between 5 and 14 years of age -- become  
> competitive, with
> the bestschools going to the children of the wealthy
> Capital is now, as it always has been, a lie founded on a bad pun: the
> "freedom" of the market has nothing whatever to do with human  
> freedom, any
> more than the 'survival of the fittest' describes the fit of a  
> species in an
> ecological niche.
> Sorry to be argumentative: it's late, I'm tired, and I blew the  
> weekend
> writing when I shd have been outdoors
> sean
> Prof Sean Cubitt
> scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
> Director
> Media and Communications Program
> Faculty of Arts
> Room 127 John Medley East
> The University of Melbourne
> Parkville VIC 3010
> Australia
> Tel: + 61 3 8344 3667
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> Skype: seancubitt
> http://www.culture-communication.unimelb.edu.au/media-communications/
> http://www.digital-light.net.au/
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> Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series
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