Monday, January 21, 2013

Thesis 11 of 95: Are Vendors People?

People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.

One of the difficulties in making these posts, especially with the themes I've been using, is that sometimes, the  theses pretty much all I want to say. Thus, I might sound a little redundant at times.

A more market reductionist person would maybe question the distinction the theses makes between "one another" and "vendors". Vendors, they would say, are people. People who happen to sell commodities.

Now, I'm not going to question the personhood of vendors, but to say that there isn't a difference in social relation between "the common person" and the "salesman" is to miss the point. The salesman works in commoditizing the social world, while the common person is subjected to that commoditization. In absence of this commoditization, the common person, who is always a part of the social world, would interact with it in a different way. We should be clear that "different way" might not inherently be the "better way".

The decommoditization of information and social activity leads to less dependence on this way of regulating the social.

Thats about all I have in me today.

See you soon, Thesis 12



Let me know if you did and I can maybe reward you in some way.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thesis 10 of 95: I'm The Chairman of the Board

Part of the blogging project about the 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. You can find all the posts in the project here. (PLEASE CHECK IT OUT THESE ARE AWESOME PEOPLE)

As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.

I don't know why we've, (or maybe just me) have internalized this notion of good posts being long posts. I'd take a "Theses on Feuerbach" over an "Atlas Shrugged" every day.

Anyway, yes, the Conversational Market changes us. It has mostly, made us bored. I believe that nothing else can explain Farmville, or Paul Krugman having an actual audience (although that might just be Peak Liberalism).

Because this Conversational Market has appeared inside of the Commodity Market it is still relegated to it and regulated by it. It has made work, arguably, more effective and has devalued the employer in the workplace. Any good socialist knows that the employer does not serve any actually useful function. All the employers authority, at least in large-scale corporate environments, derives from the notions that well, they labored yesterday probably. Or, their dad, or dads dad, labored and is now dead. Nonetheless, there are certain, other ways in which they can justify their position.

One of the ways is information. Your employer understanding the commodity market and making investments. Your employer overseeing the costs and risks of production and employing labor force. Your employer taking part in organizing work. The list goes on.

The Conversational Market, as the nucleus in the Commodity Market, doesn't require as much human expertise in delegating its information. Various ways of organizing and understanding  the world around and inside the workplace (which Kevin Carson may inform you of) have been, in a sense, fundamentally transformed. I don't really see, in a managerial sense, the reason why these employer-employee relations should be fundamentally more efficient in dealing with information than a cooperative in the modern state of the economy.

I point this out, because its true, and its interesting and on topic,  but I'll have to add that the internal organization of a workplace is not the most pressing issue that networked forms of social organization has to address. Most of these workplaces produce stupid things for us to waste our money on, or they produce things that people are in fundamental needs for, but destroy because reasons.

That is, the workplace is affected, but what we need to take conscious control of is whether or not these workplaces should exist in the first place.

See you soon, Thesis 11



Let me know if you did and I can maybe reward you in some way.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thesis 9 of 95: Utopian? Really?

Part of the blogging project about the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. All posts in the project can be found here.

Pew, I'm behind the schedule.
I'm also hecka tired. So this is either going to be short and concise, or long and unedited. Anyway.

These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.

This is fairly obvious. I think most people understand this. The thing is, I don't think many people understand the impact of these new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange. Believe it or not, 2013, people still think the internet is forever going to be secondary to the regular old capitalist way of production, exchange and consumption. Because we are still so blinded by remnants of our old value system, we fail to so reality as it is.

People think of the possibility of a tool that could change the way we satisfy our needs, make our social connections, and completely eradicate any practical need for borders and nation-states (yes I am serious), as some sort of Utopia. People are still waiting for it to die, like a lover who's been looking for a soulmate all their life and finds it, and refused to believe their love is answered. We've become so used to misery that the thought of a stable and happy world seems alien to us.

Of course, the internet is not Utopian. It is very real. It's effect on us, and our effect on it, is very real. The pragmatism and the "we have to think rationally about this"-crowd who always doubt the possibilities of new forms of society on the ground of it being "just a dream" are most of the time, the most ideologically driven of us all. What is really Utopian, is a world in which restricting the flow of information leads to economical growth, and full employment is a rational and plausible goal of any healthy society. It is not so.

We're so invested in our own delusions that reality has become a dream. Ideology. My god. No wonder people feel that the political sphere is so alien to them, like it is not a real part of society, but outside it. They know that what is said in the debates are not accurate descriptions of their reality, deep inside, but accept it without question because this is how politics is done.

Knowledge exchange is powerful. The advantage of the internet in this knowledge exchange over the old form of the library is that a library, in the way it has existed before the internet is very much limited. Although the library was a powerful tool for democracy, in retrospect, it wasn't really revolutionary.

Limited in time and space, libraries limited human minds. The internet makes all that time and space stuff less relevant. Instant access to exactly what you want through pdfs and online articles, as well as a community of like minded communities who can help you with what to read and how to understand, is something that shouldn't be underestimated.

In short, networked communities sharing knowledge is awesome, and is becoming important for me directly in my studies, as well as for many, many people like me. Unveiling the radical, and very real, potential of this is a project of changing the ways we define reality, and thusly, making Utopia into what is very unreal: present politics and economics.

See you Thesis 10.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dear Friends

Hey, people.

As you may know, me and Kahtia are still trying to hustle up money for our trip. We've now started taking donations.

I'm updating again to clarify a couple of things.

1. We very much dont like doing this. I'm sorry if its annoying, but its the only possible way this is going to happen.

2. We don't really think it's that much to ask. It's only $1 dollar, it doesn't take much of your time, and it makes us happy. Any annoyance or feeling of "this is way too much effort for just these people" is only with you.

3. Too you, it might be just a couple of entitled jerks asking for free stuff online. But in reality, we are two very emotional people who love each other and see no other way.

4. We love each other a lot. I love her a lot. Like, a lot. I really can't put it into words, let alone cope with not being able to see her. We've decided that we're going to get married some day. That's not a small thing to decide before we've even met IRL. I don't think a lot of people understand this.

So, I'm asking, please help. My paypal can be found on this blog.

Donate to her blog 

Buy her book

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thesis 8 of 95: Better Timing

Part of the blogging project about the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. All posts in the project can be found here.

In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.

Now, I've spent a lot of time speaking of markets, but I want to talk about the workplace, or the place of producing value, a bit more.

Value in society is never strictly material wealth. As Postone says in Time, Labor and Social Domination:
Material wealth does not mediate itself socially; where it is the dominant social form of wealth, it is "evaluated" and distributed by overt social relations— traditional social ties, relations of power, conscious decisions, considerations of needs, and so forth. The dominance of material wealth as the social form of wealth is related to an overtly social mode of mediation.
Now, when Marx speaks of value as the "socially necessary labor time" it takes to create a thing, he is saying exactly this: that the necessity of the hours of labor is social, not strictly material. Socially necessary labour time expresses a "general temporal norm resulting from the action of the producers, to which they must conform" (Postone, 1996). Workers in capitalism have to surrender and conform their productive activity to a certain form of abstract Newtonian time that is specific to capitalism.

In capitalism, man is secondary to time, in particular, abstract time. In all previous forms of society, concrete time, that is, time that is the function of events, such as the natural periodicities that humans experience as well as the doing (tasks, processes) of humans, that is, the time needed to fry a shrimp, or take a piss. Sure, precapitalist societies has different conceptions of an "hour", but in Egypt, for example, that hour was a variable that adapted itself after seasonal changes, and was grounded in the real world. Abstract time, however, is best described by Newton in Principia as "absolute, true and mathematical time [which] flows equably without relation to anything external."

This becomes important in the history of European society as abstract Newtonian time, in the late 14th century, starts to constitute the social reality of the commodity-determined form of social relations. It's not just the fact that this form of measuring time was invariable (China had abstract time and mechanical clocks without it constituting a form of social domination before capitalism) , its that it was incorprated into the social organization of time. It is fairly significant that in the Paris commune, the people were shooting at the clocks, as Walter Benjamin pointed out. People have been subjugated, by historical and social conditions, to the clock, or abstract labor time. Confining human productive activity into people who are regulated in time, required a huge deal of coercion and repression. It is this regime of social dominance through time we think is so natural, the regime of wage slavery.

Now, as long as technology aligns to this form of time organization, and the value creation of socially necessary labor hours, capitalism is fine. With the internet though, time has started acting differently. Human activity his in the process of being liberated from the general social time, in a way that the commodity market could never do.

The commodity market requires a certain form of production, that relies heavily on an inflexible, invariable form of time management. The concrete activities are limited by the abstract laws of temporality. The conversational market of the internet, however, does not rely on this form temporality. I can start a conversation whenever, with whoever, in whatever time-zone they happen to be, provided we both have concrete possibilities such as being awake or being close to a device that has the internet.

I wouldn't say, as the thesis say, that employees ARE speaking in a powerful new way. Rather, the possibility of speaking in a powerful new way is there, but not yet realized. More and more of the work day is spent doing nothing, and since emailing/social networking/other forms of communicating has in a sense liberated people from time and space, the point of being in a place for 8 hours when you could just as easily be in bed sending and responding to emails whenever you have the time instead of just dealing with things when they need to be dealt with. In the new form of communication, there is liberatory potential. But as socially necessary labor hours remain the main form of value, rather than this new form of conversational value that can lead to better and freer ways of living, that potential is trapped in our own, old, value system.

Maybe, to realize these powerful ways of communicating, employees need to seize to be employees, but something else. Independent co-producers that manage their own time, to the extent that it is possible. To do this, they need to transcend the value system of abstract time. Is the conversational market capable of accomplishing this? Not on its own, but it sure is going to be a huge part of it.

See you soon, Thesis 9

Let me know if you did and I can maybe reward you in a way.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thesis 7 of 95: Dog could have the value of Dog, or Dog.

Part of the blogging project about the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. All posts in the project can be found here.


Allow me to step out of the Human Voice narrative for a second. And just appreciate how cool hyperlinks are.

Back when I had a Myspace and 12 friends I realized I had a blogging function and decided, hey, let me use it for all my weird. I was really weird, and not very funny, but it was a thing that I did. Hyperlinking was a great tool for teen me back then. I used to link to all sorts of weird and stupid stuff.

It was fun, especially since I tried to purposely, rather than get a "haha thats so funny" effect, I tried to induce the WTF effect. I guess it was just another teen trying to be annoying for attention. I carried on some of my weird to twitter, but the hyperlinks wasn't there anymore. Even though, after that, I have probably started more than 10 blogs that I've abandoned, and I never got onto that blogging game again, sadly. Hopefully this will change things.

Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

Hyperlinks are ways of making sure that the words you say can have deeper implied meaning (and as we shall see later, Conversational Market value) than it would if it was just a piece of text. Usually, in text, if you want to imply something, you have to make it clear. The word dog, for example, can never mean "dog on a tricycle" written in plain text unless you specify that the dog, is specifically on a tricycle. Now I can just do this:


And by clicking that, it is understood that "dog" in this case means "dog on a tricycle".

Now, hierarchies don't like this thing were words have different meanings. They don't like it when any cog in the machines of society do not function in a way that is easily calculated, predictable and with constant attributes (Homo Ecomonicus anyone?). When the people, things, words, dogs, the word "dogs, cars, markets or thoughts don't work in a predictable way it messes up the hierarchies attempts to make their subjects "legible", in James C. Scotts terms. When things, like words in a publicly accessible blog-post, start acting differently from what the hierarchies that have been formally predetermined in an abstract sense, the hierarchy collapses.

The attempts at making the internet legible and controllable, in general, been a failure. Filesharing is a great  example of this. Que Kevin Carson (and Cory Doctorow, I guess): 
As Cory Doctorow points out, the record companies developed their DRM in the mistaken belief that it only had to be strong enough to deter the average user, and that the small number of geeks capable of cracking it would be economically insignificant. But in fact it takes only one geek to crack the DRM and post an MP3 on a torrent download site, and it becomes freely available to average users. 
Because of the networked, stigmergic character of the internet, the various ways of sharing on the internet subvert the hierarchies that attempt to control them. Information is quickly spread, mirrored and responded to.

Now, this hyperlink bizniz adds another level to this Conversational Market bizniz. There value exchanged is not fixed, and can appear differently after need and want. Unlike  the "commodity", which has a specific, fixed character and can be exchanged for another value of fixed character, "currency", it is harder to control by state and corporate authorities. With this fixed, legible form of human activity, hierarchies have all the power of the world, especially if they control what commodities are made and what currency there is.

If I wrote the word "dog" on a paper, and tried to commodify it for the capitalist market, I could only sell it as "the word dog on a paper", against whatever amount of fixed value tokens (currency) somebody is willing to give for "the word dog on a paper". If I write "dog" here on my blog, though, dog could have the value of, for example, dog, or dog.

It can then be exchanged on the Conversational Market for the attention, appreciation and sharing of others, who are equally able to produce the same values. The flexibility and informality of this value creation and exchange makes it harder for hierarchies to impose themselves upon the exchange and control it.

See you soon, Thesis 8.

Me and my girlfriend are in need of help. We live on opposite ends of planet earth, and would like to meet. If you want to help us out, read this.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Call Up To Those Heroes Who Would Help A Goat Or A Writer In Need

Note: This is a repost from here. Don't be confused when it mentions me in third person.

DISCLAIMER: This is a blog about money. The most common question we get is, why should I care about this? Why should I give money to people I don’t know? Don’t tell me about your so called need, 

I need money too omg yyyyy uuuu ffff

It’s usually not phrased so politely.

And my answer to this is, well, you shouldn’t. If that’s your reaction, then please, turn away now, for you are not our target market, and we don’t need to convince you to care.

But some people are kind and empathetic and they like us and they have a spare $5. We’re talking to them.

To the kind heroes of our hearts: THE GOATS NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE!!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help me and @sushi_goat raise the rest of the money we need for our trip to meet.


(If you’re new to this adventure, refer to these links for the full story: A Tale Of Two Goats & a song we wrote)

So, what happened? Well, as many of you know I found a casual job over Christmas and it looked like we were going to be all set for the trip. But then I just didn’t get anywhere near the number of shifts I was hoping for, and we were plunged back into financial uncertainty once again.

So, what are we asking for exactly? Well, if you’re reading my blog you probably know that I self-published a book about six months ago, and we have been selling it to raise trip money. It’s an ebook that costs $6.54 and is available here. It’s funny, clever, and just a little… off-beat. If you haven’t bought it yet, that’s the best way to contribute to our cause, as you are also supporting my art. I get $5 from every sale, and overall we need to raise the funds equivalent to about 150 book sales.

The second way to help is via a paypal donation. We have been overwhelmed with the generosity we have already seen from our kind heroes, but we have more money to raise to meet our target. It isn’t a lot of money that we need – if 150 people donated $5 (or bought books), or 75 people donated $10, or 38 people donated $20, we’d be there. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but to us it’s a small fortune. It’s the difference between eating and not eating for about two months. AND once we have it secured, we can stop worrying so much about our finances and get on with sorting out the red tape of the trip: visas, passports, bookings, etc etc.


Consider it a funding drive!

I will be posting as much as I can and trying to offer as many incentives as I can. I can draw pictures, take photos, write and record thank you songs, write you poems, write a romantic sonnet for you to give to your own lover and pretend it’s from you, whatever you want (as long as I can do it without spending money!) Just make sure I know who you are and that you donated! 

If everyone who followed us just on twitter donated $5, we’d have $14,500. We don’t need anywhere near that much, but it puts it into perspective. If you’re reading this blog, consider donating just $1. Sometimes this blog gets hundreds of hits in a day. You do the math. 

IF YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE $1 TO SPARE: We get it, don’t worry. You can still help us by posting the link to the book or to the various blogs explaining the situation. Tell your friends! Tell your enemies (but make sure you’re standing at a safe distance!)

This trip really means the world to us. It’s hard to convey the complex emotions I feel about this situation over the internet, but to imagine how the prospect of failing at raising these funds feels to me, just imagine that your insides are full of needles and broken glass.
The other thing worth mentioning is that this trip is doubling as an opportunity for me to take an extended period of time in which to write my next major piece. So if you enjoy my writing then PLEASE consider donating!!




My twitter

Sushi’s twitter


love love love love love love love love love xxxxxxxxxxx