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Re: <nettime> Jaron lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class
Brian Holmes on Tue, 14 May 2013 03:22:47 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Jaron lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class


On 05/13/2013 07:11 PM, Keith Hart wrote:

Lanier's ideas about the middle class as an artificial product of
modernity are interesting and of course I loved all that stuff about the
digital revolution generating a shift from formal to informal economy.

The "middle classes" dependent on a neo-imperial division of both labor and global market opportunities are on the way out, for sure. In the US, the "jobless recovery" has actually created lots of low-end and high-end jobs to replace those lost (not the manufacturing jobs lost years ago, I mean the ones lost in 2008). But what it has not created are jobs in the middle range.

The question for us on this list is: what are WE gonna do? The jobs lost are those we could have had. And yet probably a lot of us never wanted to work at Kodak, or as low-end management, etc. In a great bifurcation of the social order, at least part of the future is open. so how do people want to live? Is it possible to create a society where informal, culturally-oriented work is economically viable - not on the level of the swimming pool and the three-car garage, but on the levels of decent lodging in the city or the countryside, access to tools, health-care and retirement without fear?

Since nothing has changed since 2008, the global economy is headed either for another big crash, or for a series of smaller and more controlled ones. Either way, it's not goin' back to what it was. But neither is the present situation stable and viable. If the former middle classes of the formerly overdeveloped world don't think about what they want to become next, well, someone else will do that thinking for us.

In this case it's not Bartelby anymore. I prefer to. Let's get to work on this.

best, Brian


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