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Re: <nettime> Privacy, Moglen, {AT} ioerror, #rp12
Newmedia on Tue, 8 May 2012 23:43:52 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Privacy, Moglen, {AT} ioerror, #rp12


Dmytri:
 
> Eliminating privilege is a political struggle, not a technical  one.

Ahah -- therein lies the conundrum.  Are you sure that you  can defend 
this, apparently controversial, "priority" scheme?
 
Where does one's "politics" come from?  In particular, what might  *cause* 
an "anti-privilege" sort of politics (not to be confused with either the  
politics of "fairness" or "anti-corruption")?
 
Are you claiming that this sort of politics could be the result of some  
"natural law" or has some other "inate" origins?  Probably not.
 
Or, does it arise from our "material" circumstances?  And, since I  presume 
we are talking here about human psychology, what do we know about the  
relationship between that psychology and the material environment in which we  
live?
 
Then, how is this psychological environment shaped by the technologies  we 
use and their relationship to various sorts of "scarcity" (which are  
themselves produced by technologies)?
 
So, which has priority?  Technology?  Economics?   Culture?  Politics?  
Seems you might have over-simplified things and  drawn distinctions that are 
too sharp -- perhaps the result of grinding an  axe?
 
As has already been pointed out, much of our lives already has little  to 
do with "profit."  As McLuhan declared a very long time ago, we already  live 
in an age of "software communism."
 
 
Since I'm an ex-Wall Street banker, I happen to know some of the people who 
 funded Facebook.  Do they want profits?  Sure, but do they also know  that 
what they are doing is skating on very thin ice?  Absolutely. Do  they 
intend to "hold" the stock -- not any longer than legally  necessary! 
 
Do they know that you really can't "control" anyone on Facebook and that  
the *primary* "sales" activity that happens is NEGATIVE (i.e. people telling  
each other what *not* to buy) -- you betcha.  
 
Does anyone on Madison Avenue *really* believe that you can "target" people 
 and get more money out of them than they did with television ads?  No --  
the smart ones have learned over the past 15 years that it really doesn't 
work  that way.  They are just hoping to minimize how much LESS they get out 
of  them!

 
People aren't fools and since antiquity human cultures have valorized  
VIRTUE over VICE.  Greed is a vice. Endless accumulation isn't a  virtue -- 
temperance is, along with prudence.  How do you know that  Bernard de 
Mandeville's "Fable of the Bees" wasn't a "limited time offer" that  has now EXPIRED?
 
Capitalism was invented for a "purpose" by more-or-less by the same people  
who gave us the 18th century (first) Industrial Revolution.  While  
corporations and usury had been around for a while, that purpose was (roughly  
speaking) "industrialization."  Today the Chinese call their system  
"state-capitalism," which given that they are still industrializing makes a lot  of 
sense.  
 
Industrialization raises living standards, increases population density,  
improves health, lengthens life expectancy and generally "helps" EVERYONE --  
right?  Just look at Angus Madisson's charts and graphs.
 
So, does "capitalism" still have a broad social *purpose* once a  
significant level of industrialization has already been achieved?  Might  the same 
"anti-privilege" politics that you champion be a result of having  already 
achieved "post-industrial" status -- personally and culturally?
 
For what it's worth, the *original* Internet (okay, ARPANET) was quite  
"centralized" and, in fact, had "surveillance" (albeit of a very small group of 
 researchers who had grown reluctant to travel to "brain-storm") as (one 
of) its  primary goals.  
 
By the time I brought AOL public in 1992, its entire profits were the  
result of HOT CHAT, which was superceded by AOL becoming the primary site for  
accessing PORN sites, since they had the largest server-farm and, therefore, 
the  most room to cache "pictures."
 
So, there's "surveillance" (like the don't pass go, directly to jail type  
-- for instance) and the "I've got all your clicks but don't know what to  
do with them" type -- which is exactly where Google and Facebook are today 
and  will likely be 10 years from now.
 
Be careful not to believe what the "capitalists" tell you . . . they often  
aren't telling the truth!
 
Mark Stahlman
Brooklyn NY
 
P.S. The first person I heard use the term "venture communist" was John  
Perry Barlow, speaking at a Forbes conference.  As a guy who has come with  a 
few catchy phrases, you might want to trademark the term!  <g>


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