Brian Holmes on Mon, 25 Jul 2011 15:32:10 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> some more nuanced thoughts on SWARTZ

On 07/24/2011 01:34 PM, Jernej Prodnik wrote:

 I don't have access to most of the supposedly public intellectual
 commons and my country is in EU, but it is impossible for the
 universities to make available access to all of these bases of knowledge
 that were mostly constructed with knowledge that was paid by public

This is the fundamental point. We live in a "knowledge society" constructed on capitalist rules, so that knowledge itself ceases to be a public good and becomes a public enemy. The result is that we speed toward ecological and geopolitical disasters without knowledge of them. Instead we protect the systems of blindness. If Swarz wanted to research the funding of legal articles, there is a reason for it: he wanted to find out more about who writes the law and who forges the legal culture within which this privatization is occurring. Maybe he wanted to know, for instance, who funds legal scholarship in the domain of "public choice theory" -- which, despite the name, promotes the essential idea that everything publicly provided, every public service and free access , is an abuse that should be eliminated.

Given the recent exposure of single figures like the Koch brothers and their influence on policy, I would very much like to know more about the aggregate, systemic trends in the funding of legal research. Isn't there something chilling about an intellectual facing 35 years in jail for his attempts to shed light on that particular subject?

Concerning David Golumbia's idea that his research would equate to some kind of theft from academics, David, I don't get it. Are you paid per view for your articles on JSTOR? Are you paid for any of your articles? Did you not receive a salary to write them? Can you not conceive of a world in which the knowledge produced by universities would be a public good? These are all real questions, you can answer freely. Not having a university salary, not having university granted access codes and not living conveniently next to a public library, this question of access is a major one for me. I support scholarship through endless purchases of books. But if I had to pay for all the materials I need to do my cultural critique, it would not exist. And I guess that is what the Koch brothers and the public choice theorists and many others would find most comfortable.

best to all, Brian

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