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Re: <nettime> some more nuanced thoughts on SWARTZ
David Golumbia on Mon, 25 Jul 2011 04:22:35 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> some more nuanced thoughts on SWARTZ


so we are clear: you do not believe my work, profession, or institution
deserve compensation of any sort. they should be free. i should work for
free. i don't know how you expect me to live while i do my work, but
whatever. i am sorry that universities and colleges cannot give away
everything for free. surely you have taken Econ 101 and know that if all
labor is forced to be free, there can be no labor and nobody can live.
because that is the economic model being propagated here. "all publicly
funded research should be available for free." really? really? do you
*really* think that? because it's absurd. nobody *could* "work" under
conditions that their results and labor were, by definition, worth
*nothing*.

it's a funny philosophy for people who generally seem to have taken their
cue from *Atlas Shrugged*. one person (Swartz) shouldn't be punished for
violating the rules, principles, or laws of the enterprise in which others
are engaged, because your work is so valuable and probing;  another person
(me) should, on the other hand, give away your work, labor for free, and
happily sign petitions for people whose work involves violating the minimal
principles established for my work.

none of this has been directed at the question of criminal liability on
Swartz's part; it's directed at the assumption on nettime-l that Swartz is
so on the "right side" of this "war" that i should gladly sacrifice my own
interests in favor of his.

and by the way: what Swartz is trying to *prove* is already obvious. Science
is deeply corrupted by big business. that's been shown, demonstrated,
written about, and proven for decades. as much as i don't mind another study
showing it, that is hardly the sort of ground-breaking in-your-face
world-shattering research that justifies breaking the principles of the
institution and profession to which Swartz apparently signed up. there is a
long tradition of people doing things "on their own" WHEN the institution of
which they are a part shows itself incapable. Has Swartz made any effort to
show either that (a) JSTOR would not allow his research project to move
forward or (b) more generally, that this SORT of research has been ruled out
by "the man"? I think the facts are quite to the contrary.

goodbye, nettime-l. i don't have time to intervene in a discussion of
hardcore Randites about the finer points of Howard Roark's use of matches.
and that is the majority of what this list and others like it have become.

> come as news to you, there's a long tradition of people doing things "on
> their own," even if it violates not just laws but (gasp!) *policies*. So
> I think we can discount that bit too.
>
> As for the rest, one needn't be be a full-on freetard to ask whether,
> how, and/or to what extent it's legitimate for a private interest to
> profit from renting out publicly funded work. Maybe one interesting way
> to approach that kind of question would be to do some quantitative
> analysis -- in ways that could lead away from hyperideological absolutist
> posturing and toward a more specific, empirical understanding of the
> terrain itself. I wonder how one could go about doing that...
>
> --

David Golumbia
dgolumbia {AT} gmail.com


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