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).

50

[...] He suggests that we are on the cusp of an open access revolution that will overcome capitalism, heralding a new mode of production based on the principles championed by the likes of Swartz (whom he does not mention). According to Mason, there is now a massive and irreconcilable contradiction between the forces of production (new technologies that promote sharing, peer production and counter-capitalist practices of open access) and the relations of production (based on private property, paywalls and the enforcement of laws that Swartz aimed to challenge). Mason places great emphasis on endogenous technological change (first posited by Paul Romer), claiming that because information is infinitely replicable, with a margin or reproduction cost of zero, the price mechanism is eroded since it can no longer be based on scarcity, supply and demand and so forth. Songs on an iPod don’t degrade with use and those same zero-marginal cost processes will soon infiltrate physical goods too as they acquire digital components. In this environment, firms must (a) simply invent a commodity’s price and (b) create a monopoly to shore up its value. As far as Mason is concerned, such structures are swimming against the tide, swiftly becoming obsolete as a new economic dawn arrives.

[...]

We should not believe for one minute that multinational firms are embarrassed by this outrageous income, as Mason implies, perhaps even backing down in shame. No, these institutions instead tend to react like an outraged monarch, displaying egregious aggression to preserve their right to extract wealth unhindered, since the profit margins are so lucrative yet based on such flimsy grounds. [...]

—p.50 Wreckage Economics (40) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] He suggests that we are on the cusp of an open access revolution that will overcome capitalism, heralding a new mode of production based on the principles championed by the likes of Swartz (whom he does not mention). According to Mason, there is now a massive and irreconcilable contradiction between the forces of production (new technologies that promote sharing, peer production and counter-capitalist practices of open access) and the relations of production (based on private property, paywalls and the enforcement of laws that Swartz aimed to challenge). Mason places great emphasis on endogenous technological change (first posited by Paul Romer), claiming that because information is infinitely replicable, with a margin or reproduction cost of zero, the price mechanism is eroded since it can no longer be based on scarcity, supply and demand and so forth. Songs on an iPod don’t degrade with use and those same zero-marginal cost processes will soon infiltrate physical goods too as they acquire digital components. In this environment, firms must (a) simply invent a commodity’s price and (b) create a monopoly to shore up its value. As far as Mason is concerned, such structures are swimming against the tide, swiftly becoming obsolete as a new economic dawn arrives.

[...]

We should not believe for one minute that multinational firms are embarrassed by this outrageous income, as Mason implies, perhaps even backing down in shame. No, these institutions instead tend to react like an outraged monarch, displaying egregious aggression to preserve their right to extract wealth unhindered, since the profit margins are so lucrative yet based on such flimsy grounds. [...]

—p.50 Wreckage Economics (40) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
85

[...] A similar problem dogs liberal critics who call for a return to Keynesianism. It isn’t that capitalism has become corrupt and deviated from its underlying principles. No, the corruption has simply risen to the surface, especially given how the countervailing force of the labour movement has been obliterated.

—p.85 Wreckage Economics (40) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] A similar problem dogs liberal critics who call for a return to Keynesianism. It isn’t that capitalism has become corrupt and deviated from its underlying principles. No, the corruption has simply risen to the surface, especially given how the countervailing force of the labour movement has been obliterated.

—p.85 Wreckage Economics (40) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
114

When we think of capitalism, we mainly think of the production of things. Commodities, services, experiences all have to be produced before they’re consumed. However, this type of capitalist activity takes time, investment and a paid workforce. Companies at the vanguard of the present, feudal-like world economy are not really keen on that. Is there an easier way to make profits? Yes, so it happens. Rather than produce goods and services, better to enclose them, making use of the means of production that people already are. That would keep costs down. This is the business model for so-called ‘platform capitalism’, be it the Uber, Deliveroo or YouTube. These organisations seek to commercialise the informal economy and rent it back to the community.

—p.114 Why Homo Economicus had to Die … Over and Over Again (87) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

When we think of capitalism, we mainly think of the production of things. Commodities, services, experiences all have to be produced before they’re consumed. However, this type of capitalist activity takes time, investment and a paid workforce. Companies at the vanguard of the present, feudal-like world economy are not really keen on that. Is there an easier way to make profits? Yes, so it happens. Rather than produce goods and services, better to enclose them, making use of the means of production that people already are. That would keep costs down. This is the business model for so-called ‘platform capitalism’, be it the Uber, Deliveroo or YouTube. These organisations seek to commercialise the informal economy and rent it back to the community.

—p.114 Why Homo Economicus had to Die … Over and Over Again (87) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
126

It is important to note that the ‘jobless future’ thesis has been around since the dawn of capitalism. Sure, many occupations have certainly vanished because of mechanisation. But steam power didn’t end the reliance on living labour and AI probably won’t either. What has changed, however, is the way sophisticated technologies are now paving the way for millions of ‘crap jobs’ to flourish. [...] In this respect, technology is probably not the answer when it comes to envisaging a future that is genuinely free of work. We need to tackle the social relationships behind the deployment of automation. Otherwise, any emancipatory stance that favours full automation risks inadvertently supporting what capitalists have desired all along – escaping their dependency on labour, while tapping the riches of a new generation of impoverished and insecure workers. [...]

—p.126 Why Homo Economicus had to Die … Over and Over Again (87) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

It is important to note that the ‘jobless future’ thesis has been around since the dawn of capitalism. Sure, many occupations have certainly vanished because of mechanisation. But steam power didn’t end the reliance on living labour and AI probably won’t either. What has changed, however, is the way sophisticated technologies are now paving the way for millions of ‘crap jobs’ to flourish. [...] In this respect, technology is probably not the answer when it comes to envisaging a future that is genuinely free of work. We need to tackle the social relationships behind the deployment of automation. Otherwise, any emancipatory stance that favours full automation risks inadvertently supporting what capitalists have desired all along – escaping their dependency on labour, while tapping the riches of a new generation of impoverished and insecure workers. [...]

—p.126 Why Homo Economicus had to Die … Over and Over Again (87) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
142

Why do we work? The obvious answer is ‘to live’. But it’s not our actual job – giving a lecture, selling a car, nursing a patient or flying a passenger jet – that directly secures our life conditions. For sure, as we have already demonstrated, most occupations in the West have drifted far away from the baseline of biological survival, which is partly down to the massive division of labour that has arisen in the post-industrial era. But this disconnect between labour and subsistence is also related to the main medium in which inhabitants of any capitalist society must communicate. Our specific job grants us access to manmade vouchers we call money. We then redeem these so we can then purchase life. How many vouchers we obtain and what we have to do to get them is the political question par excellence in our society and its highly skewed class relations. But it’s this fissure and complex mediation between labour (as an organic/social necessity) versus work (as a cultural artefact) that has been behind employment taking on a life of its own, spiralling out of control, absorbing everything else.

—p.142 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

Why do we work? The obvious answer is ‘to live’. But it’s not our actual job – giving a lecture, selling a car, nursing a patient or flying a passenger jet – that directly secures our life conditions. For sure, as we have already demonstrated, most occupations in the West have drifted far away from the baseline of biological survival, which is partly down to the massive division of labour that has arisen in the post-industrial era. But this disconnect between labour and subsistence is also related to the main medium in which inhabitants of any capitalist society must communicate. Our specific job grants us access to manmade vouchers we call money. We then redeem these so we can then purchase life. How many vouchers we obtain and what we have to do to get them is the political question par excellence in our society and its highly skewed class relations. But it’s this fissure and complex mediation between labour (as an organic/social necessity) versus work (as a cultural artefact) that has been behind employment taking on a life of its own, spiralling out of control, absorbing everything else.

—p.142 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
143

[...] Work today is simply an ideology, designed to lock in a particular class relationship and naturalise the private ownership of the means of production. It does this by falsely evoking the ruse of physiognomic necessity: if we work in order to live, then only a fool would argue against the need to build society around jobs.

—p.143 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] Work today is simply an ideology, designed to lock in a particular class relationship and naturalise the private ownership of the means of production. It does this by falsely evoking the ruse of physiognomic necessity: if we work in order to live, then only a fool would argue against the need to build society around jobs.

—p.143 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
149

[...] The work ethic mutates into something entirely different, much darker, compared to previous eras. It used to help fill in or suture over the emptiness of human vulnerability (an attack) and help a community imagine itself in positive terms. Now, however, salvation and redemption comes to those who submit to work not because it makes them whole again but allows people to see past themselves, to retroactively perceive the void they always were, while simultaneously keeping that nothingness at bay through hard labour. This foregrounding of the disposable nothingness we already were is an inadvertent consequence of blending the ethos of war with the everyday convention of work.

The organic excuse for employment (physical survival), in this sense, almost becomes a distraction from this other existential register and its secret martial law. Max Weber’s analysis of the Protestant ethic and its focus on a ‘calling’ inevitably misses this blend of faith and demise. For us today, work is no longer a vehicle for divine redemption. And it certainly does not save us. It merely forms the space in which existence can be judged by an immense absence or the void concerning the worthlessness of one’s sacrifice. [...]

—p.149 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] The work ethic mutates into something entirely different, much darker, compared to previous eras. It used to help fill in or suture over the emptiness of human vulnerability (an attack) and help a community imagine itself in positive terms. Now, however, salvation and redemption comes to those who submit to work not because it makes them whole again but allows people to see past themselves, to retroactively perceive the void they always were, while simultaneously keeping that nothingness at bay through hard labour. This foregrounding of the disposable nothingness we already were is an inadvertent consequence of blending the ethos of war with the everyday convention of work.

The organic excuse for employment (physical survival), in this sense, almost becomes a distraction from this other existential register and its secret martial law. Max Weber’s analysis of the Protestant ethic and its focus on a ‘calling’ inevitably misses this blend of faith and demise. For us today, work is no longer a vehicle for divine redemption. And it certainly does not save us. It merely forms the space in which existence can be judged by an immense absence or the void concerning the worthlessness of one’s sacrifice. [...]

—p.149 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
154

[...] This is how the work ethic functions today. Occupational roles are detached from their basis in productive utility and work becomes the wandering reference point for everything else. Not a concrete activity but an abstract and diffuse prism through which all of life is myopically evaluated and managed. Overwork is an obvious outcome. So is the way political questions are now so violently reduced to the topic of employment, which almost always yields deeply conservative conclusions. Should we welcome refugees and asylum seekers? No, they’ll steal our jobs. How can we tackle gender inequality? More female CEOs. What is the leading cause of depression and suicide? Joblessness. Want to make America great again? More work. What is the objective of your government? Get Britain working. And the list goes on.

—p.154 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] This is how the work ethic functions today. Occupational roles are detached from their basis in productive utility and work becomes the wandering reference point for everything else. Not a concrete activity but an abstract and diffuse prism through which all of life is myopically evaluated and managed. Overwork is an obvious outcome. So is the way political questions are now so violently reduced to the topic of employment, which almost always yields deeply conservative conclusions. Should we welcome refugees and asylum seekers? No, they’ll steal our jobs. How can we tackle gender inequality? More female CEOs. What is the leading cause of depression and suicide? Joblessness. Want to make America great again? More work. What is the objective of your government? Get Britain working. And the list goes on.

—p.154 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
159

In the end, this economic model is unfeasible since it artificially distils what counts as ‘productive labour time’ down to such a bare minimum that if workers only performed this minuscule task then nothing would get done. Proper labour consists of both (a) the task and (b) the essential, supportive background activity all jobs require (using the restroom). The two can’t be separated in any practical sense. This is also why it is difficult to measure individual productivity – or the marginal product – with simple quantitative metrics in an organisation. Numerically tracking an individual’s performance misses a great deal about their real productivity since it is so intertwined with qualitative, collective processes. [...]

—p.159 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

In the end, this economic model is unfeasible since it artificially distils what counts as ‘productive labour time’ down to such a bare minimum that if workers only performed this minuscule task then nothing would get done. Proper labour consists of both (a) the task and (b) the essential, supportive background activity all jobs require (using the restroom). The two can’t be separated in any practical sense. This is also why it is difficult to measure individual productivity – or the marginal product – with simple quantitative metrics in an organisation. Numerically tracking an individual’s performance misses a great deal about their real productivity since it is so intertwined with qualitative, collective processes. [...]

—p.159 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago
168

[...] Capitalist work systems are not defined by a numerical threshold, a kind of red line that only when crossed can we reasonably speak about exploitation. No, this is a qualitative relationship. For that reason, the capitalist mode of production by its very nature has always entailed overwork, no matter how much time is spent toiling in the post-modern office. This point is made very well by Kirsty Ross in relation to the anthropological investigations of Pierre Clastres:

[...] What we disparagingly called ‘subsistence economies’, societies where one works to satisfy one’s needs and not to produce a surplus, are to be seen, according to Clastres, as operating according to a refusal of a useless excess of activity. Work, then, appears only with the constitution of a surplus; work begins, properly speaking, as overwork.

—p.168 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago

[...] Capitalist work systems are not defined by a numerical threshold, a kind of red line that only when crossed can we reasonably speak about exploitation. No, this is a qualitative relationship. For that reason, the capitalist mode of production by its very nature has always entailed overwork, no matter how much time is spent toiling in the post-modern office. This point is made very well by Kirsty Ross in relation to the anthropological investigations of Pierre Clastres:

[...] What we disparagingly called ‘subsistence economies’, societies where one works to satisfy one’s needs and not to produce a surplus, are to be seen, according to Clastres, as operating according to a refusal of a useless excess of activity. Work, then, appears only with the constitution of a surplus; work begins, properly speaking, as overwork.

—p.168 The Theatre of Loss … Work (130) by Peter Fleming 11 months, 1 week ago