New Commons 6/6: Capitalizing (on) the Common

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  • 1. Juhana  Venäläinen   Researcher,  PhD  Student   University  of  Eastern  Finland   School  of  Humanities   juhana.venalainen@uef.fi   5516126  New  Commons  /  Juhana  Venäläinen  /  University  of  Eastern  Finland  /  Spring  2013  
  • 2. ¡  1.  A  few  more  words  on  P2P   ¡  2.  Immaterial  and  affective  labor   ¡  3.  Cognitive  capitalism   ¡  4.  ”Freedom”  in  a  commons?  
  • 3. ¡  P2P  infrastructure:   §  1.  Technological  infra  (”fixed  capital”)   §  2.  Autonomous  information  and  communication   systems   §  3.  Software  for  autonomous  global  cooperation   §  4.  Legal  infrastructure  for  affirming  and   protecting  use-­‐value   §  5.  Suitable  cultural  conditions  (new  ways  of  being,   knowing  and  valuing)   (Bauwens  2005)  
  • 4. ¡  P2P  characteristics   §  1.  Distributed  networks   §  2.  Anti-­‐credentialism  (=inclusive  communities)   §  3.  Holoptism  (*)  (contra  panoptism)  -­‐>  horizontal   distribution  of  the  process  management   §  4.  Flexible  hierarchies   §  5.  Distributed  leadership   §  6.  Non-­‐reciprocal  gift  economy   §  (*)  a  term  coined  by  Jean-­‐François  Noubel  
  • 5. ¡  Digitalism:  Modern   ideology  of  equality   and  a  cult  of   englightenment   §  Parallels  between  lingual   and  biological  domains   §  Illusion  of  ”energy-­‐free”   reproduction  of   information   §  Utopy  of  a  reciprocal  gift   economy  
  • 6. ¡  1.  Ignoring  wetware   §  Hardware,  software  and  netware  are  not  sufficient  for   building  autonomous  commons   §  More  focus  should  be  put  on  the  reproduction  of  the   “peers”  as  “wetware”  (biological,  mental  beings)   ¡  2.  Misfocusing  the  struggle  of  digital  freedom   §  Overemphasis  on  the  rights  to  singular  cultural   artefacts  (-­‐>  copyright  regimes,  etc.)   §  Underemphasis  on  the  rights  to  the  infrastructure   §  -­‐>  theory  of  “cognitive  rent”   (Pasquinelli  2008)  
  • 7. ¡  The  preference  of  ”direct”  social  engagement   over  money-­‐mediated  market  engagement   ¡  A  ”humanist”  idea  of  the  immeasurability  of   the  value  of  persons  and  their  efforts   ¡  A  generalized  critique  of  the  money-­‐form   (Virén  &  Vähämäki  2011)  
  • 8. ¡  Work  done  on  the  networking  commons:   beyond  measure”  and  beyond  control?   ¡  Or:  measured  and  controlled  differently?   §  Equality  matching  (eye-­‐for-­‐an-­‐eye)   §  Informal  measurements  of  effort   §  Communal  pressure   §  Meritocracy   §  Oligarchy  
  • 9. ¡  What  is  it  “production”  of,  if  anything?   ¡  What  are  the  “commons”  in  question?   ¡  E.g.  sharing  copyrighted  music  via  BitTorrent  protocol   §  The  cultural  artefacts  are  produced  outside  this  networking   commons  and  expropriated  to  the  commons  (a  “counter-­‐ enclosure”)   §  New  kind  of  “relational”  products  through  the  practices  of   sharing:   ▪  New  consumption  patterns,  trends,  hypes   ▪  New  market  information   ▪  New  ways  of  advertising   §  -­‐>  the  idea  of  consumer  as  a  producer  (“prosumption”,   “produsage”)  
  • 10. ¡  “Culture  of  sharing”  as  a  double-­‐edged  sword   ¡  Sharing  as  “freedom”?   ¡  Capitalizing  on  the  sharing   ¡  Creates  a  global  market  of  “audience   commodities”   ¡  Technological  &  economic  infrastructures  of   sharing:  highly  concentrated  
  • 11. ¡  The  changing  role  of  affects  in  capitalist   economy   ¡  Affects  as  directly  productive  of  capital   ¡  Affective  labor  as  one  of  the  highest  value-­‐ producing  forms  of  labor  (from  the  point  of   view  of  capital)    
  • 12. ¡  Global  economy  is  (=was)  taking  a  step  towards   “postmodernization”   §  Shift  from  industrial  production  to  informational   economy   §  Does  not  imply  the  disappearance  of  the  previous   forms  of  labor  (industrial,  agricultural)   §  Rather  the  introduction  of  communicative  techniques   in  all  sectors  of  production  (“treat  manufacturing  as  a   service”)   ¡  The  old  conception  of  the  global  division  of  labor   (I  =  informational,  II  =  industrial,  III  =  agricultural)   does  not  apply   §  “All  forms  of  production  exist  […]  under  the   domination  of  the  informational  production  of   services”  
  • 13. ¡  Fordism   §  “Mute”  relation  b/w  production  and  consumption   §  Producer  can  expect  100  %  demand  of  everything  produced   §  -­‐>  delayed  and  restricted  “feedback  circuit”  from  consumption  to  production   ¡  Toyotism   §  Production  planning  communicates  rapidly  with  the  market  changes  (-­‐>  fast   “feedback  circuit”)   §  Just  in  time  production   ¡  Service  economy  model   §  Communication  as  productive  –  and  as  a  product  –  in  itself   §  Based  on  continual  exchange  of  information  and  knowledges   §  “The  model  of  a  computer”  as  a  paradigm  of  production   §  -­‐>  immaterial  labor  
  • 14. ¡  The  “other  face”  of  immaterial  labor   ¡  Involves  human  contact  and  interaction   ¡  Plays  a  vital  role  in  service  industries  from  fast-­‐ food  restaurants  to  stock  trading   ¡  Produces  “immaterial  goods”:  feelings,   excitement,  passion,  a  sense  of  connectedness   ¡  -­‐>  creation  and  manipulation  of  affects  
  • 15. ¡  Main  theses:   §  1.  The  focus  of  the  wealth  creation  has  been  relocated  from  material   production  to  the  production  of  knowledge,  affects  and  “life  in  itself”   §  2.  The  affective/cognitive  component  of  value  creation  is  not  only   “mental”  or  “immaterial”  but  diffused  in  different  “materialities”   §  3.  The  extraction  of  surplus  value  is  not  based  on  concrete   organization  of  work  within  a  firm  but  on  the  exploitation  of  the   voluntary,  independent  and  non-­‐paid  cooperation  of  workers  through   “cognitive  rent”   ¡  Notable  theorists   §  Carlo  Vercellone  (2005;  2007;  2008),  Yann  Moulier  Boutang  (2007),   Enzo  Rullani  (2000;  2004a;  2004b);  Andrea  Fumagalli  (2007)    
  • 16. ¡  A  new  mode  of  capital  accumulation   §  Based  on  knowledge  and  creativity   §  Knowledge  as  the  prominent  factor  of  production  and  the   site  of  value  creation   §  Stresses  investments  on  the  immaterial  (education,  R&D,   communications  infra,  “human  capital”  in  general)   ¡  Key  parameters  of  the  accumulation  system:   §  Property  rights  arrangements   §  Networks  and  alliances   §  Projects  management   §  Geographical,  institutional  and  organizational  conditions   for  extracting  profit  from  knowledge  and  innovation  
  • 17. ¡  Virtualization  of  the  economy   ¡  Digitization  of  knowledge   ¡  ICT  as  socio-­‐technological  resource   ¡  Collapse  of  the  division  of  labor   ¡  Real-­‐time  production   ¡  Tendency  of  open  access   ¡  Crises  in  IP  rights   ¡  “Biopolitical”  mode  of  production  
  • 18. ¡  “Information  technology,  personal  computers   and  Internet  will  rise  to  a  similar  position  as   metaphors  as  the  coal  mine,  steam  engine,   weaving  machine  and  railway  were  for   industrial  capitalism.”  (Moulier  Boutang  2007)   ¡  -­‐>  a  new  historical  phase  and  regime  of   organizing  production  and  the  social  life  in   general  
  • 19. ¡  Scope  of  Google   §  Over  1  trillion  indexed  pages  (2008)   §  Total  revenue  ca.  50  bn$  (2012)   §  Market  share  of  84  %  in  desktop  search  (2011)   ¡  McKinsey  &  Company  (2011):   §  The  global  added  value  of  search  in  2009:  780  bn$   ▪  -­‐>  0,50  $  /  search   §  Only  4  %  of  the  added  value  is  capitalized  within  the  “search  engine   industry”   ▪  The  bulk  of  profit  is  gained  by  other  industries  and  individual  households   ¡  Beckström’s  Law   §  The  value  of  a  network  equals  the  net  value  added  to  each  user’s   transactions  conducted  through  that  network,  summed  over  all  users  
  • 20. ¡  1.  Not  in  the  production  of  new  knowledge,  but  in   processing  pre-­‐existing  information   §  Exhibition   §  Filtering   §  Production  of  the  context   ¡  2.  Not  in  individually  genuine  ideas,  but  in  attention   and  relation  between  different  contents   ¡  3.  Not  in  direct  control  of  the  users’  behaviour,  but  in   providing  a  technological  and  social  platform  of  free   communication  
  • 21. ¡  “Political  entrepreneur”  (Moulier  Boutang)   §  Does  not  invest  in  actual  production  processes  or   launch  them   §  -­‐>  tries  to  arrange  and  control  the  already  existing   processes  and  extract  value  from  them  
  • 22. ¡  Fuchs  (2011):  The  extraction  of  value  in  Google  is   based  on  the  non-­‐paid  work  done  by  the  users   §  Users  provide  the  actual  content   §  Users  provide  the  relational  information  (metadata)   on  the  content   ▪  What  is  “interesting”   ▪  What  is  trending   ▪  Which  contents  are  related  and  how   ¡  Google  extracts  surplus  value  from  audience   commodities  sold  in  targeted  advertising  
  • 23. ¡  Hardin:  “Freedom  in  a  commons  brings  ruin   to  all”   ¡  Now:  Freedom  in  a  commons  brings  profit  to   all?   ¡  -­‐>  But  what  freedom,  what  profit,  to  who  all,   and  how?  
  • 24. ¡  "The  development  of  each  human  fate  can  be   represented  as  an  uninterrupted  alternation   between  bondage  and  release,  obligation  and   freedom.  This  initial  appraisal,  however,   presents  us  with  a  distinction  whose  abruptness   is  tempered  by  closer  investigation.  For  what  we   regard  as  freedom  is  often  in  fact  only  a  change   of  obligations  [...]  The  process  of  liberation  now   starts  again  with  this  new  duty,  just  as  it  had   ended  at  this  very  point.”   –  Simmel,  "The  Philosophy  of  Money",  4.I  
  • 25. “Power  is  exercised   only  over  free   subjects,  and  only   insofar  as  they  are   free.  […]  At  the  very   heart  of  the  power   relationship,  and   constantly  provoking   it,  are  the   recalcitrance  [disobedience]   of  the  will     and  the     intransigence  [stubbornness]   of  freedom.”   (Michel  Foucault,  “The  Subject  and  Power”,  cited  in  Hardt  &  Negri  2009,  p.  59)  
  • 26. ¡  Bauwens,  Michel.  2005.  “The  Political  Economy  of  Peer  Production”.  CTHEORY.   http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=499   ¡  Bughin,  Jacques  ym.  2011.  The  impact  of  Internet  technologies:  Search.  McKinsey  &  Company.   ¡  Fumagalli,  Andrea.  2007.  Bioeconomia  e  capitalismo  cognitivo.  Verso  un  nuovo  paradigma  di   accumulazione.  Roma:  Carocci.   ¡  Hardt,  Michael.  1999.  “Affective  Labor”.  boundary  2  26(2):  89-­‐100.   ¡  Hardt,  Michael  &  Antonio  Negri.  2009.  Commonwealth.  Cambridge,  Mass.:  Belknap  Press  of   Harvard  University  Press.   ¡  Moulier  Boutang,  Yann.  2007.  Le  capitalisme  cognitif:  la  nouvelle  grande  transformation.  Paris:  Éd.   Amsterdam.   ¡  Negri,  Antonio.  1999.  “Value  and  Affect”.  boundary  2  26(2):  77–88.   ¡  Pasquinelli,  Matteo.  2008.  Animal  Spirits:  A  Bestiary  of  the  Commons.  Rotterdam:  NAi   Publishers  /  Institute  of  Network  Cultures.   ¡  Simmel,  Georg.  2004[1900].  The  philosophy  of  money.  Psychology  Press.   ¡  Vercellone,  Carlo.  2005.  “The  hypothesis  of  cognitive  capitalism”.   ¡  Vercellone,  Carlo.  2008.  “The  new  articulation  of  wages,  rent  and  profit  in  cognitive  capitalism”.   Queen  Mary  University  School  of  Business  and  Management,  London.   ¡  Viren,  Eetu,  ja  Jussi  Vähämäki.  2011.  Perinnöttömien  perinne:  Marx  ilman  marxismia.  Helsinki:   Tutkijaliitto.