Monthly Archives: January 2015

“In brief, our hypothesis is that the new technologies that are being created bring
about larger negative externalities than in previous epochs by forcing the early and
premature obsolescence of products and firms they destroy. However, these externalities are
not adequately understood so that our evaluation of the contribution of the innovation to
NNP, to welfare and to employment is overestimated. This is the case, we have argued,
because the destructive power associated with Schumpeterian creative destruction has
increased markedly relative to their creative component, in contrast to previous epochs.
Creative destruction’s gentle winds have mutated into cyclones of destruction. Thus, our sense of well-being will probably not keep pace with even the slow economic growth being
predicted by Gordon, Summers, and Krugman. While the economy will be growing, albeit
slowly, we predict that our sense of well-being will be mysteriously lagging well behind.”

The Disorder Of Things

Post 4 in a series of ethnographic notes sent from the Pacific Ocean. View more from the series here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Keeping watch at sunset from the bridge

The 3rd mate’s seafaring career began with a desire for basketball shoes. “When I was really young, I saw these guys coming home – seamen from my province – and they looked really amazing,” he shares one afternoon as we stare across the ocean from the bridge, where he is on watchkeeping duty for 8 hours a day. “They had these fancy dresses, basketball shoes… at that time I really liked basketball, so when I saw those brand new shoes, I said, ‘ok, I want that too’. The other men in my town, they were not the same. Even if they had a higher degree of education, they didn’t have those things the seaman were having. So I thought, why study those courses the…

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“This talk examines the changing material terrain of urban struggle today. The rapid militarization of the police, the changing spatial patterns of segregation, the embeddedness of ubiquitous computing into into the surveillance architecture, and the heightened centrality of urban spaces to global flows of capital are all changing the political space of the city today. What do these changes offer for struggle? How are various tactics of struggle – strikes, blockades, marches, occupations, and so on – made more or less amenable to political struggle today? What traditional modes of struggle are becoming obsolete in the face of contemporary changes, and what new potentials are opening up? This presentation will examine these questions and suggest an outline for contemporary urban struggle.”

“This return to immanence, that is, to a flattening out of social, cultural, and political connections, has important consequences for me. As Negri, Haraway, and Deleuze and Guattari have consistently argued, the demolition of the modernist ontology of the Cartesian subject does not have to produce the relativism of the most cynical examples of postmodern theory. The loss of transcendence, of external principles which organize the social world from the outside, does not have to end up in nihilism, a loss of strategies for dealing with power.

Such strategies cannot be conjured by critical theory. As the spectacular failure of the Italian Autonomy reveals, Berardi, La nefasta utopia. the purpose of critical theory is not to elaborate strategies that then can be used to direct social change. On the contrary, as the tradition of cultural studies has less explicitly argued, it is about working on what already exists, on the lines established by a cultural and material activity that is already happening. In this sense this essay does not so much propose a theory as it identifies a tendency that already exists in the Internet literature and on-line exchanges. This tendency is not the truth of the digital economy; it is necessarily partial just as it tries to hold to the need for an overall perspective on an immensely complex range of cultural and economic phenomena. Rather than retracing the holy truths of Marxism on the changing body of late capital, free labor embraces some crucial contradictions without lamenting, celebrating, denying, or synthesizing a complex condition. It is, then, not so much about truth-values as about relevance, the capacity to capture a moment and contribute to the ongoing constitution of a nonunified collective intelligence outside and in between the blind alleys of the silicon age.”