[iDC] A lot of threads on labor and the Net.

Michael Bauwens michelsub2003 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 21 10:38:25 UTC 2009

Hi Patrick,

I would like to reverse the problem. Web 2.0 has indeed been the greatest con of all time. We have enticed capital in building sharing and peer production platforms at no cost to us but our voluntary free time and our passionate creative pursuits, making them think that their miserable profits is worth creating the possibilities of massive post-monetary exchange beyond the commodity form. While they are busy counting their money, and their left critics are busy critiquing them, the young generations and peer producing and sharing communities are busily constructing new ways of creating value, of being together, exchanging value and services on a global scale, following their creative and passionate pursuits, creating the seeds of the sustainable society that needs to supersede the current one. I say that's a pretty good deal, and indeed, a massive con game. It's just not the one we think it is.

Socialism was a low treshold activity, it didn't take any convincing to workers that they were exploited, (though of course it was a hard and dangerous job convincing them there were alternatives; convincing sharers and peer producers that they are exploited is a high treshold activity, predicated on destroying their joy in sharing and creation. I predict this activity will be as successfull as the attempts to tell the workers it made no sense to improve their working conditions in the factories, as they were exploited anyway.


>From: patrick lichty <voyd at voyd.com>
>To: iDC at mailman.thing.net
>Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 10:02:40 AM
>Subject: [iDC] A lot of threads on labor and the Net.
> >
>Hello all, 
>As Flusser severely challenged my formal style of writing a
>few years ago, I’ll likely be speaking in a lively or anecdotal/episodic
>voice this time around.
>Capital/Labor/Net 2.0: 
>This has been a huge problem for me.  Either I hae
>missed this conversation, but I have always felt that Web 2.0 has been about
>the most brilliant shell game of all.  Getting the proletariat to pay the
>provider to work for them.  The capitalist builds the scaffold for the
>users, like so many polyps to build their content-reef-attention ecology, from
>which the capitalist reaps benefits and then (as in the case of Facebook)
>double reaps by selling cute pets to fight with, gifts, etc.  
>This conceit fo empowerment as expropriation is especially
>true in Second Life, ( I apologize, but it has been my primary locus of
>research these past 3 years). “It’s your world” they say,
>while only hinting at the fact that to build that world that they then charge
>from, one has to pay to have land-space, and then if someone is talented, they
>only then to not have to pay for the house that they paid for, etc etc
>etc.  Of course, the value is the extancy of community, that has also
>bought the Ponzi scheme; not only of SL, but of the larger framework of Web
>Of course, one can cite the building of worlds, communities
>as the affirmative version of Wark’s 3rd Nature of the Hacker
>shooting forth from the vector of the industrialist, but without getting into the
>other discussion on the TAZ, I would like to wonder about the subversive aspect
>of the 3rd order ob abstraction.  For example, Virtual worlds
>tend towards the hunky, sexy avatars, and the gleaming cyberbungalow, but I
>love a group called the Hobos.  These are virtual worlders that exercise considerable
>craft to create a parallel “free” FLOSS economy, and to exert high
>craftsmanship to create favelas and shantytowns that cause their neighbors to
>put up huge murals of meadows.  This, to me, is the dialectical fruit of
>human vs. technocratic utopia.
>>I love this idea of monolithic frontal attention, because It has ceased to
>exist in my classroom.  It’s that I think that unless we act as
>strict parents, the ontology of US students, especially in media arts, is so
>multithreaded/multimodal that one has to at least acknowledge it, if not
>directly address it.  This is where I was going in my 98 essay “Speaking
>the Multimedia Culture”, but this would eb much more thoroughly “multi”.
>This also reminds me of some of Trebor’s comments on
>Constant Partial Attention Deficit.  Perhaps this is not as much CPAD as a
>necessary modality to the time (i.e. a rhizomatic discursive structure that
>conflicts against the hegemonic monoattentional model).  As I think about
>D&G’s rhizomatic structure as template for resistance, I find that my
>young have wholeheartedly accepted it, but simultaneously accept the oversight
>of the corporation-provider while questioning the “expert” in terms
>of that they think they should have, which then comes from the same rhizomatic
>media structure they espouse.  Perhaps that’s a bit circular, and I
>may be drifting from preparing to go to the Arctic.
>One thing I loathe is the axiom “at least you love
>what you do”.  This is the dream, isn’t it?  That we can
>deliriously work 24/7 with nary a care.  And, in the aforementioned
>models, we do it and pay the entrepreneur for doing it for them just for the
>privilege of inclusion, or for novelty (my thought on MTurk), or even for the
>illusion/hope of profit.  The last is the “perpetual spec”
>model where the practitioner is strung along in hopes of a future payoff. 
>Again, this is evident in SL, where people are told that if they spend the
>money, put up the store, etc. whey will real great benefits, while doing
>something they love.  Taylorist entertainment seems to be the axiom of the
>day, cloaked in the rhetoric of empowerment and inclusion.  I do it; I
>think it’s revolting, but I do it nonetheless.
>What a great discussion.  I apologize for being shorter
>than usual; time for bed, and I just finished a piece for Version as well.
>Interactive Arts & Media
>>  Columbia College, Chicago
>Intelligent Agent Magazine
>225 288 5813
>FAX 312 344-8021
>voyd at voyd.com
>is better to die on your feet 
>>than to live on your knees." 

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/attachments/20090621/055354e3/attachment-0001.htm 

More information about the iDC mailing list