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Re: <nettime> "Too bad your great ideas will never work."
Morlock Elloi on Fri, 15 Sep 2017 07:25:28 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> "Too bad your great ideas will never work."


I don't think that there is anything in-between for the individual, but yes, there is a lot in the space of social contracts and regulations.

Which brings up an interesting topic - stratification of the society based on particular cognitive abilities.

While one (usually a Marxist) can argue that nothing ever changes, I think that the exponential rise of the complexity of everyday technology creates a qualitatively new environment, where smaller and smaller number of specialists really understand (and therefore have power over) everyday "objects".

To illustrate: few centuries ago, when King sent soldiers to beat the shit out of someone, you didn't need IQ over 80 and special training to understand what happened, and you could make an informed vote to limit the king's ability for search, seize and beat, and you could verify that it was executed.

Today, the argument goes, the computers, networks and cryptography are so complicated, that people must rely on regulations, executed by the trusted elected officials, to be protected from "soldiers" that ordinary people cannot even see. This is where the system breaks down - this completely novel requirement to blindly trust officials to do the unverifiable. Trusting the officials to reign in the obvious thugs that everyone can see has been equated to trusting the officials to protect our data, which 7 people have any clue where it is and how it moves. Mind boggling.

Unfortunately the left cannot wean off this fallacy, which is its only allowed solution, and keeps ending in the blind alley. The powers that be wholeheartedly support this avenue (including some famous exiles), exactly for that reason - it's guaranteed to go nowhere.

Why is this (blindly trusting elected officials and faith in the system, which just needs to be a bit better) the only allowed option for the left? Probably because otherwise the left would have to acknowledge that we entered the techno-saturated era where people are fundamentally unequal to the extent that the 19th century democracy and social models simply do work any more and cannot deliver. It's just too easy to fuck over, wholesale, the uneducated and the stupid. The left has no mechanisms to deal with this: it does not have the currency to pay the clever and the educated, which then work for powers that be, and it is left with the loud, "hackers" and not so capable ones.

If the left is to prevail, it must find such currency, integrate those into its body politic, and dismantle the cognitive stratification. The currency is not necessarily the cash. It can be the ideology that is attractive not just to janitors, minorities and the unemployed. Unbelievable number of very clever and capable techies wander through various groups (Ethereum, Bitcoin, yoga, Blockstack, etc.) looking, in vain, for the meaning of life - the 6-digit salaries are not enough.

The best the left could think of was to throw rocks at the Google bus, thus elegantly contributing to the stratification. It continued to rely on the old models of "educating" and "organizing" masses, spreading class consciousness, etc, among the irrelevant ones. We see the results.


On 9/14/17, 04:17, Felix Stalder wrote:
I'm not sure about this. There are lots of things in the middle, if you
leave the what-I-can-do-as-an-individual-perspective. One is called
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