Sunday, June 16, 2013

The 3rd industrial revolution won't be as easily coopted as the 2nd

I just came upon this recent P2P Foundation article, "The third industrial revolution won't be as easily coopted as the second." Excerpts:

"The new technologies of liberation, if allowed to develop according to their own interior logic, render obsolete the entire material rationale behind the wage system and the factory system, and threaten to destroy corporate power.... But the dominant economic interests of the day are doing their best to stave off this revolutionary threat by domesticating the new technologies, co-opting them into the existing corporate institutional framework, and enclosing their productive potential as a source of rents."

And the following, which echoes some of my own concerns at the beginning of the Rifkin thread and in the progressive economics thread, about including the new tech into capitalism instead of going fully P2P:

"Perhaps even worse, some members of the Left whose hearts are clearly in the right place nevertheless unwittingly advocate a vision of 'progressive' economics that amounts to a greenwashed version of corporate enclosure.... Rifkin, God bless him, says — entirely accurately — that the new technologies will enable each person to be their own manufacturer, power company and media production company. What he fails to realize is that it’s pretty hard to make large amounts of money in an economy like that.

"If such people on the Left should know better, there are others backing the same greenwashed capitalist vision — the Warren Buffets and Bill Gateses of the world — who know exactly what they’re doing. The future of the world, if these people get their way, lies with Buffet’s giant corporate wind farms (linked to distant cities with a heavily subsidized 'smart grid'), Microsoft’s proprietary software, and Monsanto’s proprietary biotech.

"The new technologies, if left to themselves, would destroy the profits of such people. They would give the rest of us historically unprecedented abundance, independence, leisure, and control over our working lives. This is the natural effect of technologies of abundance in a freed market, when market competition socializes the benefits of innovation and efficiency. The only way the propertied classes, the rentier classes, can prevent this is by relying on the state to step in and snatch scarcity from the jaws of abundance."

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