[OPE] intermission

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Wed Nov 04 2009 - 03:33:44 EST

I think you are looking at the issue from the idealist perspective of rich
middleclass bureaucrats, Jerry.

Dogan has a point with his knowledge-as-a-commodity idea, although he hasn't
covered the relevant literatures and classic statements of it very much yet.
Times are getting harder, and people are growing more wary of rich people
scrounging around to extract knowledge and valuable information for free.
Why volunteer insights, if you don't get anything back for it? People who
"sing out" are naive from this point of view - if you knew it, you wouldn't
talk about it, you would just do it.

Obtaining knowledge and information becomes much more of a negotiation these
days - the politics of knowledge, if you like - and the presentation of
knowledge becomes more "layered" - at the front end of the store, there is a
general story freely available, a sort of advertisement of the knowledge,
information or advice you could get, but if you want real useful detail
("paydirt"), you have to pay up. You have to ask yourself also, why e.g.
newspapers have been in decline.

In the modern workplace, the turnover of managerial personnel is often quite
high - the point is that the "work environment" is just there for them to
develop their glorious career - and management often has little clue about
the details of work processes, so that the "cadres" are motivated to hire in
people especially to spy on the workers, in order to describe what they
actually do, and extract the knowledge of what a work process actually
involves, making it meaningful to management.

For the New Marxist Exploiting Class, this whole thing is especially
problematic, because this Class relies crucially on the workers volunteering
free labour, cooperation and effort, through moral and emotional
manipulations and intellectual persuasion, in order to establish its
political rule. If they cannot extract that free labour anymore, they cannot
get to a position of power so easily anymore, except through working for an
employer themselves and demonstrating their superior organisational skills
in some sense. More generally, there are few left organisations or citizens'
initiatives these days without financial problems.

All of this means that people are increasingly concerned with the motive
itself for sharing information - if sharing information no longer serves
their own purpose, if they do not benefit themselves by sharing it, they are
much less likely to share it. I noted the effects many years ago already -
an "enclosure movement" in the garden of knowledge, and a process of
quasi-ghettoisation in intellectual space as well.

The technology available for human cooperation has developed at an
astonishing pace, but if you understand Marx, you also know that the
technology means nothing without social relations. You can have the most
wonderful technical scheme for solving a problem, but if people will not
associate with it, or cooperate with it, you are still nowhere.

The New Marxist Exploiting Class likes to ramble on about how the workers
are exploited (the C, V and S storyline), but that is not really where it is
at. Workers know very well what exploitation is, I can vouch for that. The
core issue instead concerns the motivations for cooperation and competition,
how they are related, and for whose benefit. And that, dear Watson, is the
real frontier of revolutionary thought.



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Received on Wed Nov 4 03:35:27 2009

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