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).

5

[...] digital technology is becoming systematically important, much in the same way as finance. As the digital economy is an increasingly pervasive infrastructure for the contemporary economy, its collapse would be economically devastating. Lastly, because of its dynamism, the digital economy is presented as an ideal that can legitimate contemporary capitalism more broadly. The digital economy is becoming a hegemonic model: cities are to become smart, businesses must be disruptive, workers are to become flexible, and governments must be lean and intelligent. [...]

defining digital economy as underlying other industries that rely on IT

thus it's the most dynamic sector of the contemporary economy

—p.5 Introduction (1) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] digital technology is becoming systematically important, much in the same way as finance. As the digital economy is an increasingly pervasive infrastructure for the contemporary economy, its collapse would be economically devastating. Lastly, because of its dynamism, the digital economy is presented as an ideal that can legitimate contemporary capitalism more broadly. The digital economy is becoming a hegemonic model: cities are to become smart, businesses must be disruptive, workers are to become flexible, and governments must be lean and intelligent. [...]

defining digital economy as underlying other industries that rely on IT

thus it's the most dynamic sector of the contemporary economy

—p.5 Introduction (1) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
6

[...] capitalism has turned to data as one way to maintain economic growth and vitality in the face of a sluggish production sector. [...]

think about this in the context of Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems theory & running out of markets to expand to

but this is just an easy temporary fix, akin to deleting a few stale keys in redis when you run out of memory (or actually that's not a good analogy--think of a better one)

—p.6 Introduction (1) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] capitalism has turned to data as one way to maintain economic growth and vitality in the face of a sluggish production sector. [...]

think about this in the context of Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems theory & running out of markets to expand to

but this is just an easy temporary fix, akin to deleting a few stale keys in redis when you run out of memory (or actually that's not a good analogy--think of a better one)

—p.6 Introduction (1) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
16

In the face of declining profitability, manufacturers made efforts to revive their businesses. In the first place, firms turned to their successful competitors and began to model themselves after them. The American Fordist model was to be replaced by the Japanese Toyotist model. In terms of the labour process, production was to be streamlined. [...] Companies were increasingly told by shareholders and management consultants to cut back to their core competencies, any excess workers being laid off and inventories kept to a minimum. [...] Yet these efforts met with counter-attempts by Japanese and German competitors to increase their own profitability [...] The result was continued international competition, overcapacity, and downward pressure on prices.

The second major attempt to revive profitability was through an attack on the power of labour. [...] The drivers behind this shift were to reduce benefits and liability costs, in an effort to maintain profitability levels. These changes inaugurated the secular trends we have seen since, with employment being increasingly flexible, low wage, and subject to pressures from management.

the postwar context

  • Germany/Japan destroyed by war, so US manufacturing dominated
  • eventually, due to the Marshall plan, both caught up with the US and started to compete with US firms
  • globally, there was overproduction that drove prices downward
  • as a result, US firms had profitability issues
  • via exchange rate manipulations, unprofitability crisis transmitted to Germany/Japan, resulting in crisis of the 1970s

the thing about this cost-cutting ideology (which is really the heart of liberalism) is that not only is it really bad for workers, it also just doesn't work in terms of long-term productivity ... it's intellectually dishonest

—p.16 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

In the face of declining profitability, manufacturers made efforts to revive their businesses. In the first place, firms turned to their successful competitors and began to model themselves after them. The American Fordist model was to be replaced by the Japanese Toyotist model. In terms of the labour process, production was to be streamlined. [...] Companies were increasingly told by shareholders and management consultants to cut back to their core competencies, any excess workers being laid off and inventories kept to a minimum. [...] Yet these efforts met with counter-attempts by Japanese and German competitors to increase their own profitability [...] The result was continued international competition, overcapacity, and downward pressure on prices.

The second major attempt to revive profitability was through an attack on the power of labour. [...] The drivers behind this shift were to reduce benefits and liability costs, in an effort to maintain profitability levels. These changes inaugurated the secular trends we have seen since, with employment being increasingly flexible, low wage, and subject to pressures from management.

the postwar context

  • Germany/Japan destroyed by war, so US manufacturing dominated
  • eventually, due to the Marshall plan, both caught up with the US and started to compete with US firms
  • globally, there was overproduction that drove prices downward
  • as a result, US firms had profitability issues
  • via exchange rate manipulations, unprofitability crisis transmitted to Germany/Japan, resulting in crisis of the 1970s

the thing about this cost-cutting ideology (which is really the heart of liberalism) is that not only is it really bad for workers, it also just doesn't work in terms of long-term productivity ... it's intellectually dishonest

—p.16 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
23

In 1998, as the East Asian crisis gathered pace, the US boom began to stumble as well. The bust was staved off through a series of rapid interest rate reductions made by the US Federal Reserve; and these reductions marked the beginning of a lengthy period of ultra-easy monetary policy. Implicitly the goal was to let equity markets continue to rise despite their 'irrational exuberance', in an effort to increase the nominal wealth of companies and households and hence their propensity to invest and consume. In a world where the US government was trying to reduce its deficits, fiscal stimulus was out of the question. This 'asset-price Keynesianism' offered an alternative way to get the economy growing in the absence of deficit spending and competitive manufacturing. And it worked for a time [...]

and then we had the dot-com crash, then lower interest rates after 9/11 that resulted in the housing boom and thus financial crisis

—p.23 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

In 1998, as the East Asian crisis gathered pace, the US boom began to stumble as well. The bust was staved off through a series of rapid interest rate reductions made by the US Federal Reserve; and these reductions marked the beginning of a lengthy period of ultra-easy monetary policy. Implicitly the goal was to let equity markets continue to rise despite their 'irrational exuberance', in an effort to increase the nominal wealth of companies and households and hence their propensity to invest and consume. In a world where the US government was trying to reduce its deficits, fiscal stimulus was out of the question. This 'asset-price Keynesianism' offered an alternative way to get the economy growing in the absence of deficit spending and competitive manufacturing. And it worked for a time [...]

and then we had the dot-com crash, then lower interest rates after 9/11 that resulted in the housing boom and thus financial crisis

—p.23 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
32

[...] At one end, tax evasion and cash hoarding have left US companies--particularly tech companies--with a vast amount of money to invest. This glut of corporate savings has--both directly and indirectly--combined with a loose monetary policy to strengthen the pursuit of riskier investments for the sake of a decent return. And at the other end, tax evasion is, by definition, a drain on government revenues and therefore has exacerbated austerity. The vast amount of tax money that goes missing in tax havens must be made up elsewhere. The result in further limitations on fiscal stimulus and a greater need for unorthodox monetary policies. Tax evasion, austerity, and extraordinary monetary policies are all mutually reinforcing.

one could argue that this tax evasion/avoidance isn't really that serious since the amount of tax to be paid is arbitrary anyway, and if it's all legal, then why does it matter? the response to that is less moral (for which the answer is obvious: corporations benefit from government infrastructure and thus should attempt to pay the set tax rate in good faith) and more about long-term efficiency ... a corporation operating in a state that has lower tax revenues will 1) have shittier infrastructure and 2) put the average person through more hardship, meaning that not only are they less likely to be able to afford to buy products, they are (hopefully) more likely to rise up and demand change, potentially at a disastrous cost for the corporation

—p.32 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] At one end, tax evasion and cash hoarding have left US companies--particularly tech companies--with a vast amount of money to invest. This glut of corporate savings has--both directly and indirectly--combined with a loose monetary policy to strengthen the pursuit of riskier investments for the sake of a decent return. And at the other end, tax evasion is, by definition, a drain on government revenues and therefore has exacerbated austerity. The vast amount of tax money that goes missing in tax havens must be made up elsewhere. The result in further limitations on fiscal stimulus and a greater need for unorthodox monetary policies. Tax evasion, austerity, and extraordinary monetary policies are all mutually reinforcing.

one could argue that this tax evasion/avoidance isn't really that serious since the amount of tax to be paid is arbitrary anyway, and if it's all legal, then why does it matter? the response to that is less moral (for which the answer is obvious: corporations benefit from government infrastructure and thus should attempt to pay the set tax rate in good faith) and more about long-term efficiency ... a corporation operating in a state that has lower tax revenues will 1) have shittier infrastructure and 2) put the average person through more hardship, meaning that not only are they less likely to be able to afford to buy products, they are (hopefully) more likely to rise up and demand change, potentially at a disastrous cost for the corporation

—p.32 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
34

The conjuncture today is therefore a product of long-term trends and cyclical movements. We continue to live in a capitalist society where competition and profit seeking provide the general parameters of our world. But the 1970s created a major shift within these general conditions, away from secure employment and unwieldy industrial behemoths and towards flexible labour and lean business models. During the 1990s a technological revoution was laid out when finance drove a bubble in the new internet industry that led to massive investment in the built environment. This phenomenon also heralded a turn towards a new model of growth: America was definitely giving up on its manufacturing base and turning towards asset-price Keynesianism as the best viable option. This new model of growth led to the housing bubble of the early twenty-first century and has driven the response to the 2008 crisis. Plagued by global concerns over public debt, governments have turned to monetary policy in order to ease economic conditions. This, combined with increases in corporate savings and with the expansion of tax havens, has let loose a vast glut of cash, which has been seeking out decent rates of investments in a low-interest rate world. Finally, workers have suffered immensely in the wake of the crisis and have been highly vulnerable to exploitative working conditions as a result of their need to earn an income. All this sets the scene for today's economy.

—p.34 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

The conjuncture today is therefore a product of long-term trends and cyclical movements. We continue to live in a capitalist society where competition and profit seeking provide the general parameters of our world. But the 1970s created a major shift within these general conditions, away from secure employment and unwieldy industrial behemoths and towards flexible labour and lean business models. During the 1990s a technological revoution was laid out when finance drove a bubble in the new internet industry that led to massive investment in the built environment. This phenomenon also heralded a turn towards a new model of growth: America was definitely giving up on its manufacturing base and turning towards asset-price Keynesianism as the best viable option. This new model of growth led to the housing bubble of the early twenty-first century and has driven the response to the 2008 crisis. Plagued by global concerns over public debt, governments have turned to monetary policy in order to ease economic conditions. This, combined with increases in corporate savings and with the expansion of tax havens, has let loose a vast glut of cash, which has been seeking out decent rates of investments in a low-interest rate world. Finally, workers have suffered immensely in the wake of the crisis and have been highly vulnerable to exploitative working conditions as a result of their need to earn an income. All this sets the scene for today's economy.

—p.34 The Long Downturn (9) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
49

[...] the important element is that the capitalist class owns the platform, not necessarily that it produces a physical product [...]

  • ad platforms (Google, FB) that analyse user data to sell ad space
  • cloud platforms (AWS, Salesforce) that own the hardware and software and charge subscription fees based on usage
  • industrial platforms (GE, Siemens), for making manufacturing more internet-connected and thus more efficient (and cheaper)
  • product platforms (Rolls Royce, Spotify) turning traditional goods into service, collecting rents/subscription fees
  • lean platforms (Uber, Airbnb) that don't own any assets

(Amazon fits basically all of the categories, with its different products)

—p.49 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] the important element is that the capitalist class owns the platform, not necessarily that it produces a physical product [...]

  • ad platforms (Google, FB) that analyse user data to sell ad space
  • cloud platforms (AWS, Salesforce) that own the hardware and software and charge subscription fees based on usage
  • industrial platforms (GE, Siemens), for making manufacturing more internet-connected and thus more efficient (and cheaper)
  • product platforms (Rolls Royce, Spotify) turning traditional goods into service, collecting rents/subscription fees
  • lean platforms (Uber, Airbnb) that don't own any assets

(Amazon fits basically all of the categories, with its different products)

—p.49 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
56

[...] if our online interactions are free labour, then these companies must be a significant boon to capitalism overall--a whole new landscape of exploited labour has been opened up. On the other hand, if this is not free labour, then these firms are parasitical on other value-producing industries and global capitalism is in a more dire state. A quick glance at the stagnating global economy suggests that the latter is more likely.

Rather than exploiting free labour, the position taken here is that advertising platforms appropriate data as a raw material. [...]

on whether user activity counts as labour (whose definition is: activity that generates a surplus within a market and production process oriented toward exchange)

so these ad platforms are making money based on an inefficiency in the market and don't actually create any value except insofar as they subsidize the parts of the corporations that do (e.g., google maps?)

—p.56 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] if our online interactions are free labour, then these companies must be a significant boon to capitalism overall--a whole new landscape of exploited labour has been opened up. On the other hand, if this is not free labour, then these firms are parasitical on other value-producing industries and global capitalism is in a more dire state. A quick glance at the stagnating global economy suggests that the latter is more likely.

Rather than exploiting free labour, the position taken here is that advertising platforms appropriate data as a raw material. [...]

on whether user activity counts as labour (whose definition is: activity that generates a surplus within a market and production process oriented toward exchange)

so these ad platforms are making money based on an inefficiency in the market and don't actually create any value except insofar as they subsidize the parts of the corporations that do (e.g., google maps?)

—p.56 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
66

[...] In one test factory from BASF SE [...] the assembly line is capable of individually customising every unit that comes down the line: individual soap bottles can have different fragrances, colours, labels, and soaps, all being automatically produced once a customer places an order. [...]

this is the world capitalism has wrought

—p.66 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] In one test factory from BASF SE [...] the assembly line is capable of individually customising every unit that comes down the line: individual soap bottles can have different fragrances, colours, labels, and soaps, all being automatically produced once a customer places an order. [...]

this is the world capitalism has wrought

—p.66 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago
72

[...] While subscription models have been around for centuries, for example in newspapers, what is novel today is their expansion to new realms [...] Part of what has enabled these product platforms to flourish in recent years is the stagnation in wages and the decline in savings [...] seemingly cheaper upfront fees appear more enticing. [...]

on product platforms, esp music

I don't fully agree with this analysis - I think the ability to rent only when you need something vs. buy & have it sit idle most of the time is great, and I think consumers recognise that and the flourishing of these platforms is primarily a result of their advantage. though ofc i think things like Spotify, Netflix, etc should be free because anything with zero marginal cost should be free (at least eventually) but that's a whole other line of reasoning

—p.72 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] While subscription models have been around for centuries, for example in newspapers, what is novel today is their expansion to new realms [...] Part of what has enabled these product platforms to flourish in recent years is the stagnation in wages and the decline in savings [...] seemingly cheaper upfront fees appear more enticing. [...]

on product platforms, esp music

I don't fully agree with this analysis - I think the ability to rent only when you need something vs. buy & have it sit idle most of the time is great, and I think consumers recognise that and the flourishing of these platforms is primarily a result of their advantage. though ofc i think things like Spotify, Netflix, etc should be free because anything with zero marginal cost should be free (at least eventually) but that's a whole other line of reasoning

—p.72 Platform Capitalism (36) by Nick Srnicek 1 year, 4 months ago