nettime's avid reader on Fri, 25 Nov 2011 12:37:28 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> free speech and financialisation


JA: Censorship is not only a helpful economic signal; it is always
an opportunity, because it reveals a fear of reform. And if an
organization is expressing a fear of reform, it is also expressing the
fact that it can be reformed. So, when you see the Chinese government
engaging in all sorts of economic work to suppress information passing
in and out of China on the internet, the Chinese government is also
expressing a belief that it can be reformed by information flows,
which is hopeful but easily understandable because China is still a
political society. It is not yet a fiscalized society in the way that
the United States is for example. The basic power relationships of
the United States and other Western countries are described by formal
fiscal relationships, for example one organization has a contract
with another organization, or it has a bank account, or is engaged in
a hedge. Those relationships cannot be changed by moderate political
shifts. The shift needs to be large enough to turn contracts into
paper, or change money flows.

HUO: And that’s why you mentioned when we last spoke that you’re
optimistic about China?

JA: Correct, and optimistic about any organization, or any country,
that engages in censorship. We see now that the US State Department is
trying to censor us. We can also look at it in the following way. The
birds and the bees, and other things that can’t actually change human
power relationships, are free. They’re left unmolested by human beings
because they don’t matter. In places where speech is free, and where
censorship does not exist or is not obvious, the society is so sewn
up — so depoliticized, so fiscalized in its basic power relationships
— that it doesn’t matter what you say. And it doesn’t matter what
information is published. It’s not going to change who owns what
or who controls what. And the power structure of a society is by
definition its control structure. So in the United States, because of
the extraordinary fiscalization of relationships in that country, it
matters little who wins office. You’re not going to suddenly empty a
powerful individual’s bank account. Their money will stay there. Their
stockholdings are going to stay there, bar a revolution strong enough
to void contracts.


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