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Re: <nettime> The $100bn Facebook question: Will capitalism survive 'val
Felix Stalder on Mon, 5 Mar 2012 13:23:57 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The $100bn Facebook question: Will capitalism survive 'value abundance'?


On 03/04/2012 03:22 AM, Jonathan Marshall wrote:
People using facebook, or any other source, engage in labour. The
question here is do they get the full return on that labour?

I don't think it makes sense to pose the question like this, for the
reasons that Michael's text, which started this thread, emphasized.
There are fundamentally different kinds of labor, different kinds of
value and hence different kinds of returns.

However, how these different kinds of labor/value relate to one another
is really the key issue. And, to a large extend, unknown. We are only at
the beginning of this story, which reveals a basic contradiction within
contemporary techno-culture.

Forget PIPA, SOPA, ACTA, and the like, for the moment. These are ugly
fruits of the tension between the old Fordist paradigm in the
information industries, which is based on mass produced products
distributed through impersonal/abstract markets (think DVDs at Walmart),
and the new networked paradigm which is based on the modulation of
contextualized information flows. It's a messy story, but the general
outcome is relatively clear. Copyright-as-we-know-it will not survive.

But within the networked paradigm lurks this contradiction between the
social logic of cooperation (peer production, if you will) and the
commercial logic of knowledge monopolies (proprietary personal profiles,
predictive knowledge, means of granting access). At the moment, this
contradiction is still underdeveloped. In part, because in the fight
between the Fordist and the networked information economy, both are on
the same side, so, at the moment, there are easy coalitions between
them. In part, because both are still in an expansionary phase, so they
can grow without stepping on each other's toes.

That won't last, however. Perhaps the IPO of Facebook is the turning
point. Who knows. Yet, one way or the other, the differences between a
social economy (or, human economy, as Keith Hart calls it) and the
commercial economy within the networked paradigm will become contentious.

How this will play out is very hard to say. But my hunch is that the
owners of the infrastructure enjoy considerable advantages and that, in
effect, it will be impossible to fully develop a social economy on a
commercial infrastructure. The question is, are we capable of developing
other types of infrastructure can deliver the kind of networking that
the commercial providers do, while embedding it in a different social
relationships. It's not impossible, Wikipedia has shown that you can
develop large scale projects that run as a social economy, but it's by
no mean a given.


--- http://felix.openflows.com ----------------------- books out now:
*|Deep Search. The Politics of Searching Beyond Google. Studien. 2009
*|Mediale Kunst/Media Arts Zurich.13 Positions.Scheidegger&Spiess2008
*|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006
*|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005

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