Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

1

In their emphasis on the digital world’s medievalism, Foer and Galloway surprisingly join a chorus of Italian Marxists and cultural theorists who think the digital economy has brought a form of pre-modern economy back into capitalism. Rent has returned to a central role, as Carlo Vercellone argues. When growth levels off, ownership takes precedence over entrepreneurship. Rather than producing new value, the platforms simply coordinate virtual properties and charge for their use. But the properties are not in meatspace or cyberspace alone, which means the owners can set the rent at will. Think of Uber, which is only now beginning to try to create a more stable set of drivers (something like employees). Trying to keep drivers driving means negotiating with them, but the results are not encouraging. By denying their status as a firm with employees, Uber devolves the risk of enterprise onto their “contractors,” and then argues those contractors should be loyal to the platform’s internal, algorithmic assessment of its own success, since their ability to drive at all is based on Uber continuing to exist.

—p.1 Delete Your Account: On the Theory of Platform Capitalism by Leif Weatherby 3 months ago

In their emphasis on the digital world’s medievalism, Foer and Galloway surprisingly join a chorus of Italian Marxists and cultural theorists who think the digital economy has brought a form of pre-modern economy back into capitalism. Rent has returned to a central role, as Carlo Vercellone argues. When growth levels off, ownership takes precedence over entrepreneurship. Rather than producing new value, the platforms simply coordinate virtual properties and charge for their use. But the properties are not in meatspace or cyberspace alone, which means the owners can set the rent at will. Think of Uber, which is only now beginning to try to create a more stable set of drivers (something like employees). Trying to keep drivers driving means negotiating with them, but the results are not encouraging. By denying their status as a firm with employees, Uber devolves the risk of enterprise onto their “contractors,” and then argues those contractors should be loyal to the platform’s internal, algorithmic assessment of its own success, since their ability to drive at all is based on Uber continuing to exist.

—p.1 Delete Your Account: On the Theory of Platform Capitalism by Leif Weatherby 3 months ago
1

Are these platforms skimming rent off capital and labor? Or do they represent a fundamental shift in economics, a new Industrial Revolution? [...] Cognitive capitalism, to use Yann Moulier Boutang’s term, might be less about allowing creativity to organize the economic cycle than about siphoning value from socio-cultural activity as such. [...]

he cites Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee as subscribing to the second view

—p.1 Delete Your Account: On the Theory of Platform Capitalism by Leif Weatherby 3 months ago

Are these platforms skimming rent off capital and labor? Or do they represent a fundamental shift in economics, a new Industrial Revolution? [...] Cognitive capitalism, to use Yann Moulier Boutang’s term, might be less about allowing creativity to organize the economic cycle than about siphoning value from socio-cultural activity as such. [...]

he cites Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee as subscribing to the second view

—p.1 Delete Your Account: On the Theory of Platform Capitalism by Leif Weatherby 3 months ago
1

Like culture, the word democracy can mean a lot of things, but anthropologist and political activist David Graeber hits upon a useful starting point in his book The Democracy Project when he writes, “It’s not even really a mode of government. In its essence it is just the belief that humans are fundamentally equal and ought to be allowed to manage their collective affairs in an egalitarian fashion, using whatever means appear most conducive.” From this standpoint, democracy is not a particular set of norms, such as elections or political parties, but a way of thinking. Thiel has a point about the power law — society is very unequal in a lot of ways. In effect, large businesses and venture-capital-backed startups are planning the future — just as the titans of the commercial web are planning life online. A democratic mindset looks at this and says that because imbalances might exist in someone’s circumstances — because they don’t have a lot of money, or because they’re marginalized socially in some way — doesn’t mean they don’t have a stake in society. And if someone has a stake in society, they deserve a say in how it’s run. It’s a simple matter of human dignity.

—p.1 Citizen Thiel missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Like culture, the word democracy can mean a lot of things, but anthropologist and political activist David Graeber hits upon a useful starting point in his book The Democracy Project when he writes, “It’s not even really a mode of government. In its essence it is just the belief that humans are fundamentally equal and ought to be allowed to manage their collective affairs in an egalitarian fashion, using whatever means appear most conducive.” From this standpoint, democracy is not a particular set of norms, such as elections or political parties, but a way of thinking. Thiel has a point about the power law — society is very unequal in a lot of ways. In effect, large businesses and venture-capital-backed startups are planning the future — just as the titans of the commercial web are planning life online. A democratic mindset looks at this and says that because imbalances might exist in someone’s circumstances — because they don’t have a lot of money, or because they’re marginalized socially in some way — doesn’t mean they don’t have a stake in society. And if someone has a stake in society, they deserve a say in how it’s run. It’s a simple matter of human dignity.

—p.1 Citizen Thiel missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
1

[...] Thiel answers the problem of unemployment and underemployment only with vague gestures, spouting platitudes like “Properly understood, technology is the one way for us to escape competition in a globalizing world.” But technology is not magic. As Thiel himself observes, “computers are tools.” It matters a great deal who wields them. And that’s the problem. Thiel skips the most important part of the equation: who will control that technology and how they will use it. That’s what Thiel never quite admits: the power law he exalts isn’t about technology at all — as its name implies, it’s about power. Though Thiel often extols the virtues of individualism, his vision of the individual stems from his beliefs about the power law. In effect, he turns Pareto’s vision into something approaching a system of ethics. Under this power-law ethic, individualism consists of certain people exerting their power unchecked, the way the founder of a monopolistic business leverages the power that comes from cornering a market in order to escape the destructiveness of competition. But the power-law ethic offers very little to those who lack power to begin with.

—p.1 Citizen Thiel missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] Thiel answers the problem of unemployment and underemployment only with vague gestures, spouting platitudes like “Properly understood, technology is the one way for us to escape competition in a globalizing world.” But technology is not magic. As Thiel himself observes, “computers are tools.” It matters a great deal who wields them. And that’s the problem. Thiel skips the most important part of the equation: who will control that technology and how they will use it. That’s what Thiel never quite admits: the power law he exalts isn’t about technology at all — as its name implies, it’s about power. Though Thiel often extols the virtues of individualism, his vision of the individual stems from his beliefs about the power law. In effect, he turns Pareto’s vision into something approaching a system of ethics. Under this power-law ethic, individualism consists of certain people exerting their power unchecked, the way the founder of a monopolistic business leverages the power that comes from cornering a market in order to escape the destructiveness of competition. But the power-law ethic offers very little to those who lack power to begin with.

—p.1 Citizen Thiel missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
1

[...] Like economic returns from Bay Area tech companies today, human enhancement technologies of the future will not be evenly distributed. If we’re now exercised over how the rich get privileged access to airline seats, imagine the reaction from le menu peuple when they see the callow Jared Kushners of tomorrow get brain upgrades while being infused with teenaged blood. Perhaps this explains why some of the United States’s wealthiest people are prepping for the day when the pitchforks come out — a veritable bonfire of the vainglorious — and they retreat to their converted ICBM silos and island compounds.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] Like economic returns from Bay Area tech companies today, human enhancement technologies of the future will not be evenly distributed. If we’re now exercised over how the rich get privileged access to airline seats, imagine the reaction from le menu peuple when they see the callow Jared Kushners of tomorrow get brain upgrades while being infused with teenaged blood. Perhaps this explains why some of the United States’s wealthiest people are prepping for the day when the pitchforks come out — a veritable bonfire of the vainglorious — and they retreat to their converted ICBM silos and island compounds.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
1

For example, not far away from where some of the Thiel Fellows lived and coded — is there a difference? — are the 27,000-plus undergraduates of San Jose State University. Many are first-generation college students for whom a college education offers a ladder to the middle class and a decent income. In contrast, Burnham’s parents boast about how a Thiel Fellowship offered their kid a “new kind of status symbol […] it said their son could get into Harvard but turned it down for something better.” It’s one thing to write about a group of young people who, after being accepted to Yale, Princeton, and MIT, decided not to attend. That’s their privilege. But when the message is that higher education is for chumps, worth neither time nor public investment … well, that’s a very different kind of privilege.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

For example, not far away from where some of the Thiel Fellows lived and coded — is there a difference? — are the 27,000-plus undergraduates of San Jose State University. Many are first-generation college students for whom a college education offers a ladder to the middle class and a decent income. In contrast, Burnham’s parents boast about how a Thiel Fellowship offered their kid a “new kind of status symbol […] it said their son could get into Harvard but turned it down for something better.” It’s one thing to write about a group of young people who, after being accepted to Yale, Princeton, and MIT, decided not to attend. That’s their privilege. But when the message is that higher education is for chumps, worth neither time nor public investment … well, that’s a very different kind of privilege.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
1

This near-contempt for our mortal vessels takes us to a second faction — let’s call them the coders — who are selling their own strategy for defeating or deferring death. Instead of augmenting the body with high-tech gadgets or through genetic and medical tweaks, they propose abandoning the Flesh altogether. The body as a machine to be maintained and augmented is old hat; they focus instead on the mind. Drawing on philosophical debates going back to Descartes, they imagine it as software — a program or data file that can be copied indefinitely and remain useful, so long as an operating system exists to run it. Making a copy of a person’s mind is the first step toward uploading it for storage and retrieval.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This near-contempt for our mortal vessels takes us to a second faction — let’s call them the coders — who are selling their own strategy for defeating or deferring death. Instead of augmenting the body with high-tech gadgets or through genetic and medical tweaks, they propose abandoning the Flesh altogether. The body as a machine to be maintained and augmented is old hat; they focus instead on the mind. Drawing on philosophical debates going back to Descartes, they imagine it as software — a program or data file that can be copied indefinitely and remain useful, so long as an operating system exists to run it. Making a copy of a person’s mind is the first step toward uploading it for storage and retrieval.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
1

[...] Gesturing to his seemingly normal and well-functioning body, one such biohacker tells O’Connell, “I’m trapped here.” Transhumanism, at least in this version, appears less about liberation than self-annihilation. Like the ancient Gnostics, these people believe that our flesh is a prison trapping the soul — “our bodies, our burdens,” as it were. But then, transhumanism has always had more than a whiff of eschatology about it.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] Gesturing to his seemingly normal and well-functioning body, one such biohacker tells O’Connell, “I’m trapped here.” Transhumanism, at least in this version, appears less about liberation than self-annihilation. Like the ancient Gnostics, these people believe that our flesh is a prison trapping the soul — “our bodies, our burdens,” as it were. But then, transhumanism has always had more than a whiff of eschatology about it.

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
1

All this would be fine — let the über-rich pursue their batshit crazy schemes — but, as O’Connell suggests, these expensive, research-intensive solutions to “the death problem” may then crowd out other issues and approaches. We can already help people — millions of them — live longer and better lives. It’s here! Hail the future! Ah … forget about it. No one working on Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road seems inclined to get super-stoked about pushing for universal health care, better public schools, sane gun laws, and a decent living wage. Why champion urban sanitation and clean drinking water when Bono and Leonardo DiCaprio are probably already on it? Today’s transhumanism isn’t about helping the masses. It’s all about me — the glorious, death-deferring me. [...]

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

All this would be fine — let the über-rich pursue their batshit crazy schemes — but, as O’Connell suggests, these expensive, research-intensive solutions to “the death problem” may then crowd out other issues and approaches. We can already help people — millions of them — live longer and better lives. It’s here! Hail the future! Ah … forget about it. No one working on Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road seems inclined to get super-stoked about pushing for universal health care, better public schools, sane gun laws, and a decent living wage. Why champion urban sanitation and clean drinking water when Bono and Leonardo DiCaprio are probably already on it? Today’s transhumanism isn’t about helping the masses. It’s all about me — the glorious, death-deferring me. [...]

—p.1 Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
1

That situation resembles feudalism more than a bit, with the added freedom (read: risk) that individual drivers don’t even have the status of serfs. They are “free” to choose their lords, to whom they don’t even belong. The platform is an adventure in extreme forms of expropriation set against the backdrop of a slowing economy, what Marxist economist Robert Brenner calls “the long downturn” since the 1970s. [...] There’s still a centralized federal government, but its authority is attenuated by platform monopolists. The platform confuses capital-flow and social form, rearranging the relationship of profit to community (and therefore class), and of intelligence to organization. With the incumbency effect that massive data hoarding affords companies like the Four, we appear to be looking at something like a set of smart monopolies [...]

—p.1 Delete Your Account: On the Theory of Platform Capitalism by Leif Weatherby 3 months ago

That situation resembles feudalism more than a bit, with the added freedom (read: risk) that individual drivers don’t even have the status of serfs. They are “free” to choose their lords, to whom they don’t even belong. The platform is an adventure in extreme forms of expropriation set against the backdrop of a slowing economy, what Marxist economist Robert Brenner calls “the long downturn” since the 1970s. [...] There’s still a centralized federal government, but its authority is attenuated by platform monopolists. The platform confuses capital-flow and social form, rearranging the relationship of profit to community (and therefore class), and of intelligence to organization. With the incumbency effect that massive data hoarding affords companies like the Four, we appear to be looking at something like a set of smart monopolies [...]

—p.1 Delete Your Account: On the Theory of Platform Capitalism by Leif Weatherby 3 months ago