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The $100bn Facebook question: Will capitalism survive 'value abundance'?

The $100bn Facebook question: Will capitalism survive 'value abundance'?
Chiang Mai, Thailand - Does Facebook exploit its users? And where is the $100bn in the company's estimated value coming from? This is not a new debate. It resurfaces regularly in the blogosphere and academic circles, ever since Tiziana Terranova coined the term "Free Labour" to indicate a new form of capitalist exploitation of unpaid labour - firstly referring to the viewers of classic broadcast media, and now to the new generation of social media participants on sites such as Facebook. This term was recently relaunched in an article by University of Essex academics Christopher Land and Steffen Böhm, entitled "They are exploiting us! This line of argument is misleading, however, because it conflates two types of value creation that were already recognised as distinct by 18th century political economists. But Facebook users are not workers producing commodities for a wage, and Facebook is not selling these commodities on a market to create surplus value. Engineering scarcity Related:  Hyperglobalization and Finance Capitalism

The Nature Of The Firm and Work Markets Those who watched the video I posted on Sunday saw me talking about this. But I didn't do it justice so I'm going to do a full post on this. The brilliant Nobel prize winning economist Ronald Coase (who is still alive!) The entire essay The wikipedia page on the essay In The Nature Of The Firm, Coase investigates why "individuals choose to form partnerships, companies and other business entities rather than trading bilaterally through contracts on a market." Coase argues that transaction costs that make "trading bilaterally through contracts" expensive spur the organization of firms. Enter the internet and having a computer in your pocket into this model and things change. Our firm is seeing these work markets sprout up all around us and if there is a single investment theme that is dominating our deal flow right now, this would be it.

Jungle Ethics Financialism vs. Free Market Capitalism Proposals for adequate regulation and enforcement in the financial markets often run into objections from advocates of free-market capitalism. Like any discussion that involves “isms,” a lot of confusion and hard feelings can be generated by a failure to examine the assumptions and preconceptions that cluster around the central conception. We need a definition. For the sake of clarity, I will first detour into a discussion of what this form of capitalism is not, describing its antithesis – jungle-ethics financialism. Financialism is an economic system where the primary activity consists of creating and manipulating financial instruments. However, when financialism sets in, financial instruments become progressively further removed from their role in supporting commerce in the real world and develop a life of their own, a weird shadow dimension, a hall of mirrors, a distorted alternate reality that intersects and reacts with the real economy in unpredictable and destructive ways.

Analysis: Euro zone strugglers lack innovative knack John Lanchester · Marx at 193 · LRB 5 April 2012 In trying to think what Marx would have made of the world today, we have to begin by stressing that he was not an empiricist. He didn’t think that you could gain access to the truth by gleaning bits of data from experience, ‘data points’ as scientists call them, and then assembling a picture of reality from the fragments you’ve accumulated. Since this is what most of us think we’re doing most of the time it marks a fundamental break between Marx and what we call common sense, a notion that was greatly disliked by Marx, who saw it as the way a particular political and class order turns its construction of reality into an apparently neutral set of ideas which are then taken as givens of the natural order. Empiricism, because it takes its evidence from the existing order of things, is inherently prone to accepting as realities things that are merely evidence of underlying biases and ideological pressures. I, on the other hand, am an empiricist. He was right: no alternative has developed.

The Book of Jobs | Politics What this transition meant, however, is that jobs and livelihoods on the farm were being destroyed. Because of accelerating productivity, output was increasing faster than demand, and prices fell sharply. It was this, more than anything else, that led to rapidly declining incomes. The cities weren’t spared—far from it. The value of assets (such as homes) often declines when incomes do. Given the magnitude of the decline in farm income, it’s no wonder that the New Deal itself could not bring the country out of crisis. The Agriculture Adjustment Act, F.D.R.’s farm program, which was designed to raise prices by cutting back on production, may have eased the situation somewhat, at the margins. Government spending unintentionally solved the economy’s underlying problem: it completed a necessary structural transformation, moving America, and especially the South, decisively from agriculture to manufacturing. Two conclusions can be drawn from this brief history.

Capitalism: A Ghost Story | Arundhati Roy Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.” Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. But Gush-Up certainly has. The word on the street (and in the New York Times) is, or at least was, that after all that effort and gardening, the Ambanis don’t live in Antilla. In India, the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF “reforms” middle class—the market—live side by side with spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 2,50,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. Mukesh Ambani is personally worth $20 billion. A whole spectrum of corruption A.

How Technology is Recreating the 21st-century Economy W. Brian Arthur, PARC Visiting Researcher series: Entrepreneurial Spirit 4 August 20115:30-7:00pmGeorge E. about PARC forum description Every 50 years or so a new body of technology comes along and slowly transforms the economy. Brian Arthur -- an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, pioneer of complexity theory, and longtime PARC Visiting Researcher – will attempt to answer these and other questions in this PARC Forum talk. Digital technology runs deeper than merely providing computation, internet commerce, and social media. presenter(s) W. Arthur pioneered the modern study of positive feedbacks/ increasing returns in the economy -- in particular, their role in magnifying small, random economic events -- and this work became the basis of our understanding of the high-tech economy. Arthur was the Morrison Professor of Economics and Population Studies at Stanford University, and the first director of the Economics Program at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. audio

bifo says relax by malcolm harris | thestate Of the anti-capitalist scholars and intellectuals who prescribe a political program, Franco Berardi might have the most counter-intuitive ideas. In his many articles, books, and lectures, Berardi pushes a curious line against a mind-warping market culture. During the current period of youth-led urban unrest, Berardi has consistently preached a resistance strategy that emulates the process of aging. In a new formulation he calls “post-futurism,” Berardi poses the Futurist fetishization of muscular youth against “the force of exhaustion, of facing the inevitable with grace, discovering the sensuous slowness of those who do not expect any more from life than wisdom.”1 We have enough things, he writes; what we really want is more time in which to flourish. This program of exhaustion is posed opposite the pulls of what neologism-happy Berardi labels “semiocapital.” He writes that “energy is fading in the postmodern world for many reasons that are easy to detect. . Yes, we want war.

The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time - Sara Horowitz - Business Welcome to the Gig Life. The boom in independent work is changing the way we think about jobs and careers. Does Washington get it? It's been called the Gig Economy, Freelance Nation, the Rise of the Creative Class, and the e-conomy, with the "e" standing for electronic, entrepreneurial, or perhaps eclectic. Everywhere we look, we can see the U.S. workforce undergoing a massive change. Today, careers consist of piecing together various types of work, juggling multiple clients, learning to be marketing and accounting experts, and creating offices in bedrooms/coffee shops/coworking spaces. And, perhaps most surprisingly, many of them love it. This transition is nothing less than a revolution. Over the coming weeks, I will be writing about this profound shift and the three major trends that are central to it. 1) We don't actually know the true composition of the new workforce. 2) Jobs no longer provide the protections and security that workers used to expect.

What Isn’t for Sale? - Magazine Market thinking so permeates our lives that we barely notice it anymore. A leading philosopher sums up the hidden costs of a price-tag society. There are some things money can’t buy—but these days, not many. • A prison-cell upgrade: $90 a night. • Access to the carpool lane while driving solo: $8. • The services of an Indian surrogate mother: $8,000. • The right to shoot an endangered black rhino: $250,000. • Your doctor’s cellphone number: $1,500 and up per year. • The right to emit a metric ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere: $10.50. • The right to immigrate to the United States: $500,000. Not everyone can afford to buy these things. • Sell space on your forehead to display commercial advertising: $10,000. • Serve as a human guinea pig in a drug-safety trial for a pharmaceutical company: $7,500. • Fight in Somalia or Afghanistan for a private military contractor: up to $1,000 a day. • If you are a second-grader in an underachieving Dallas school, read a book: $2. Michael J.