Friday, July 17, 2015

The Neo Marxists

In the Guardian is an interesting piece if you can wade through it. The author wanders endlessly and argue for the destruction of capitalism, another revolution of the proletariat.

He says:

During and right after the second world war, economists viewed information simply as a “public good”. The US government even decreed that no profit should be made out of patents, only from the production process itself. Then we began to understand intellectual property. In 1962, Kenneth Arrow, the guru of mainstream economics, said that in a free market economy the purpose of inventing things is to create intellectual property rights. He noted: “precisely to the extent that it is successful there is an underutilisation of information.” You can observe the truth of this in every e-business model ever constructed: monopolise and protect data, capture the free social data generated by user interaction, push commercial forces into areas of data production that were non-commercial before, mine the existing data for predictive value – always and everywhere ensuring nobody but the corporation can utilise the results. 

If we restate Arrow’s principle in reverse, its revolutionary implications are obvious: if a free market economy plus intellectual property leads to the “underutilisation of information”, then an economy based on the full utilisation of information cannot tolerate the free market or absolute intellectual property rights. The business models of all our modern digital giants are designed to prevent the abundance of information.

 Intellectual property rights or property rights of any time will in his mind fall away as we see the proliferation of more and free information.

He continues:

There is, alongside the world of monopolised information and surveillance created by corporations and governments, a different dynamic growing up around information: information as a social good, free at the point of use, incapable of being owned or exploited or priced. I’ve surveyed the attempts by economists and business gurus to build a framework to understand the dynamics of an economy based on abundant, socially-held information. But it was actually imagined by one 19th-century economist in the era of the telegraph and the steam engine. His name? Karl Marx.

Yes, Marx comes back again. Just like Marx, this piece is an endless rant against capitalism and its pending demise. All because of Wikipedia. After all Wikipedia did away with encyclopedias! What did away with encyclopedias was the cost and size, and frankly the useless nature of an encyclopedia.

It is always worth reading those Marxist writers and impending doom. Well back out to my garden, it is a nice summer day!