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<nettime> consumer swarms?
wade tillett on Mon, 12 Jun 2006 05:25:36 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> consumer swarms?


what if, instead of just going out and buying deoderant and cereal and
toner cartridges, i listed off the ones i would find acceptable and
merged that list with other people who had done the same thing. we would
then have a collective bargaining power by which we could negotiate our
demands: fair trade, environmental regs, price, etc. and award our large
number of purchases to the winning provider. 

in other words, what if our minute daily decisions were compiled
together as a unit by ourselves? what if the moment of aggregation of
power was done underneath the disaggregate structure?

this is not a new idea of course, it is the basis of the union or
purchasing club.

the difference is that the technology exists to make it much more
immediate and individual-based.

for example, i am driving down the highway, the gas meter tells the
database i will need gas soon. thousands of other people will too. we
could all turn into one brand of gas station, or the other, depending on
what we are offered, say within the next ten minutes. 

(maybe it's an advertiser's dream!)

in other words, the groupings are variable based on the dynamic
near-immediate needs of the common consumer. it is a swarm based on each
particular momentary decision, not a club.

as far as doing this with regard to the labor market: this IS what temp.
agencies do, with the exception, of course, of the agency being the
middle man.

disclaimer (which i know i will have to repeat): i ain't saying that
consumer choice = democracy. this isn't the utopic liberation device
(tm), just an idea that might be of use (probably by being turned into
some ebay/priceline online business thing - ugh, always disfigured
monsters). 

i'm sure this has many precedents....


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