BookBlog: Red Penguin?

BookBlog: Red Penguin?

A challenge to Dan Hunter’s article about open source being Marxist.

Another attribute of political marxism is an belief in mandatory equality. Peer production projects often have a meritocratic culture with dramatic inequality, where founding leaders and high-value contributors have greater prestige, influence, and sometimes financial reward. It’s not considered inherently unjust that leaders of open source projects like Perl and Python have received grant, foundation, and corporate funding to do their work (although visible leaders of peer projects can also become lightning rods for criticism).

This hints at what I wrote earlier that the open source culture is not necessarily one of equality and no rewards. And that it is definitely one of power and distribution of goods. This piece also hints at the possiblity that the efficients of knowledge production in the open source community feed this inequality and perhaps support the meritocratic leaders.

For many people, software development is pretty clearly in the complementary category, where the rewards of prestige and satisfaction coexist with monetary rewards. There are Apache developers on corporate payrolls, and companies supporting open source technologies, ranging from IBM to MySQL, Zope, and Jabber. There are developers who make a living consulting based on free software expertise.

SSRN-Culture War by Dan Hunter

SSRN-Culture War by Dan Hunter:

The changed production relationship of information / intellectual property does spin traditional economics around. Yet the currency of exchange is talent, ideas, and knowledge. These are used to control access to information / intellectual goods. That is certainly not Marxist, but the potential formation of a new power elite. Or not.

“Over the last ten years, much of copyright and patent has come under attack from those who suggest that capture by private interests has had a pernicious influence on public policy. In the related areas of telecommunication spectrum management and internet regulation there have emerged strong arguments for not allocating private property interests, and instead considering these domains as commons property. I suggest that, together, these developments form part of a culture war, a war over the means of production of creative content in our society. I argue that the best way to understand this war is to view it as a Marxist struggle. However, I suggest that copyright and patent reform – where commentators have actually been accused of Marxism – is not where the Marxist revolution is taking place. Instead I locate that revolution elsewhere, most notably in the rise of open source production and dissemination of cultural content”

SSRN-Culture War by Dan Hunter

SSRN-Culture War by Dan Hunter:

The change production relationship of information / intellectual property does spin traditional economics around. Yet the currency of exchange is talent, ideas, and knowledge. These are used to control access to information / intellectual goods. That is certainly not Marxist, but the potential formation of a new power elite. Or not.

“Over the last ten years, much of copyright and patent has come under attack from those who suggest that capture by private interests has had a pernicious influence on public policy. In the related areas of telecommunication spectrum management and internet regulation there have emerged strong arguments for not allocating private property interests, and instead considering these domains as commons property. I suggest that, together, these developments form part of a culture war, a war over the means of production of creative content in our society. I argue that the best way to understand this war is to view it as a Marxist struggle. However, I suggest that copyright and patent reform – where commentators have actually been accused of Marxism – is not where the Marxist revolution is taking place. Instead I locate that revolution elsewhere, most notably in the rise of open source production and dissemination of cultural content”

Hypergene MediaBlog » Rushkoff: The Real Threat of Blogs

Hypergene MediaBlog » Rushkoff: The Real Threat of Blogs:

“Likewise, I believe the greatest power of the blog is not just its ability to distribute alternative information – a great power, indeed – but its power to demonstrate a mode of engagement that is not based on the profit principle.'”

This threat to profit-making and traditional centers of power is right on. But really this is all about a battle of ownership, power and control of resources. Age old.

Pixel Eyes: More choices, fewer shared experiences

Echo Online :: Dimensions :: Pixel Eyes: More choices, fewer shared experiences:

One of the issues with the changing landscape of new technologies, is the decentralized and fragmented nature of media consumption. What does this mean for shared experience, shared dialogue and shared culture. Are we all becoming an “army of one”. In his article Kurt Hunt asks the same questions:

“But with choice comes fragmentation. The modern family that can pull together long enough for a decent meal is exceptional. Bonus points if they have anything to discuss at the dinner table besides crazy Uncle Roger’s latest trip to prison.

So what does this mean for us and our interactions with each other? Are we doomed to sequestered lives of private distractions? Is entertainment no longer a common ground in our society? “

What happens if we no longer have common language or cultural references or get caught in self-referential loops? Hunt later writes:

There is more than just quantity at work, however. Media work differently now, giving us increasingly targeted programming that only appeals to smaller demographic groups. Communication between the “Matlock” and “Yu-Gi-Oh” crowds requires a translator and godlike patience; each group just doesn’t get what the other is into. We just don’t have as many experiences in common anymore, and the trend is only likely to continue.

Yet Hurt ends on a positive note which hints at the value of diversity and inclusion that so many new communication venues offer.

Rather than mourn a media environment that can never possibly return, we should celebrate the diversity of entertainment available to us now. Always be willing to share your interests and engage in others’ interests; use the variety as an excuse to connect with the people around you. The common ground is still there; it just doesn’t look quite the same.

:: Douglas Rushkoff – Weblog ::

:: Douglas Rushkoff – Weblog ::

Likewise, I believe the greatest power of the blog is not just its ability to distribute alternative information – a great power, indeed – but its power to demonstrate a mode of engagement that is not based on the profit principle.

This is the hope that new decentralizing technology pose. Yet without collective buyin and consensus decision-making or pluralistic debate the threat is isolatin and alienation.