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).

20

[...] The online sphere inspires incessant talk of gift economies and public-spiritedness and democracy, but commercialism and privatization and inequality lurk beneath the surface.


This contradiction is captured in a single word: “open,” a concept capacious enough to contain both the communal and capitalistic impulses central to Web 2.0 while being thankfully free of any socialist connotations. New-media thinkers have claimed openness as the appropriate utopian ideal for our time, and the concept has caught on. The term is now applied to everything from education to culture to politics and government. Broadly speaking, in tech circles, open systems—like the Internet itself—are always good, while closed systems—like the classic broadcast model—are bad. Open is Google and Wi-Fi, decentralization and entrepreneurialism, the United States and Wikipedia. Closed equals Hollywood and cable television, central planning and entrenched industry, China and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. However imprecisely the terms are applied, the dichotomy of open versus closed (sometimes presented as freedom versus control) provides the conceptual framework that increasingly underpins much of the current thinking about technology, media, and culture.

While openness has many virtues, it is also undeniably ambiguous. Is open a means or an end? What is open and to whom? Mark Zuckerberg said he designed Facebook because he wanted to make the world more “open and connected,” but his company does everything it can to keep users within its confines and exclusively retains the data they emit. Yet this vagueness is hardly a surprise given the history of the term, which was originally imported from software production: the designation “open source” was invented to rebrand free software as business friendly, foregrounding efficiency and economic benefits (open as in open markets) over ethical concerns (the freedom of free software). In keeping with this transformation, openness is often invoked in a way that evades discussions of ownership and equity, highlighting individual agency over commercial might and ignoring underlying power imbalances.

very similar to what Morozov says in his Baffler piece

(this inspired my open web talk. I swear I didn't actually read it before I wrote my logic piece though, even though it feels eerily similar. i did read that NLR review of it - maybe that's why?)

—p.20 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

[...] The online sphere inspires incessant talk of gift economies and public-spiritedness and democracy, but commercialism and privatization and inequality lurk beneath the surface.


This contradiction is captured in a single word: “open,” a concept capacious enough to contain both the communal and capitalistic impulses central to Web 2.0 while being thankfully free of any socialist connotations. New-media thinkers have claimed openness as the appropriate utopian ideal for our time, and the concept has caught on. The term is now applied to everything from education to culture to politics and government. Broadly speaking, in tech circles, open systems—like the Internet itself—are always good, while closed systems—like the classic broadcast model—are bad. Open is Google and Wi-Fi, decentralization and entrepreneurialism, the United States and Wikipedia. Closed equals Hollywood and cable television, central planning and entrenched industry, China and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. However imprecisely the terms are applied, the dichotomy of open versus closed (sometimes presented as freedom versus control) provides the conceptual framework that increasingly underpins much of the current thinking about technology, media, and culture.

While openness has many virtues, it is also undeniably ambiguous. Is open a means or an end? What is open and to whom? Mark Zuckerberg said he designed Facebook because he wanted to make the world more “open and connected,” but his company does everything it can to keep users within its confines and exclusively retains the data they emit. Yet this vagueness is hardly a surprise given the history of the term, which was originally imported from software production: the designation “open source” was invented to rebrand free software as business friendly, foregrounding efficiency and economic benefits (open as in open markets) over ethical concerns (the freedom of free software). In keeping with this transformation, openness is often invoked in a way that evades discussions of ownership and equity, highlighting individual agency over commercial might and ignoring underlying power imbalances.

very similar to what Morozov says in his Baffler piece

(this inspired my open web talk. I swear I didn't actually read it before I wrote my logic piece though, even though it feels eerily similar. i did read that NLR review of it - maybe that's why?)

—p.20 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
24

Open standards, in general, foster a kind of productive chaos, encouraging innovation and invention, experimentation and engagement. But openness alone does not provide the blueprint for a more equitable social order, in part because the “freedom” promoted by the tech community almost always turns out to be of the Darwinian variety. Openness in this context is ultimately about promoting competition, not with protecting equality in any traditional sense; it has little to say about entrenched systems of economic privilege, labor rights, fairness, or income redistribution. Despite enthusiastic commentators and their hosannas to democratization, inequality is not exclusive to closed systems. Networks reflect and exacerbate imbalances of power as much as they improve them.

—p.24 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Open standards, in general, foster a kind of productive chaos, encouraging innovation and invention, experimentation and engagement. But openness alone does not provide the blueprint for a more equitable social order, in part because the “freedom” promoted by the tech community almost always turns out to be of the Darwinian variety. Openness in this context is ultimately about promoting competition, not with protecting equality in any traditional sense; it has little to say about entrenched systems of economic privilege, labor rights, fairness, or income redistribution. Despite enthusiastic commentators and their hosannas to democratization, inequality is not exclusive to closed systems. Networks reflect and exacerbate imbalances of power as much as they improve them.

—p.24 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
30

[...] The cultural field has become increasingly controlled by companies “whose sole contribution to the creative work,” to borrow Cory Doctorow’s biting expression, “is chaining children to factories in China and manufacturing skinny electronics” or developing the most sophisticated methods for selling our data to advertisers.

damn that's brutal

—p.30 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

[...] The cultural field has become increasingly controlled by companies “whose sole contribution to the creative work,” to borrow Cory Doctorow’s biting expression, “is chaining children to factories in China and manufacturing skinny electronics” or developing the most sophisticated methods for selling our data to advertisers.

damn that's brutal

—p.30 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
33

More troublingly, at least for those who believed the Internet upstarts would inevitably vanquish the establishment dinosaurs, are the ways the new and old players have melded. Condé Nast bought Reddit, Fox has a stake in Vice Media, Time Warner bet on Maker Studios (which is behind some of YouTube’s biggest stars), Apple works intimately with Hollywood and AT&T, Facebook joined forces with Microsoft and the major-label-backed Spotify, and Twitter is trumpeting its utility to television programmers. Google, in addition to cozying up to the phone companies that use its Android operating system, has struck partnership deals with entertainment companies including Disney, Paramount, ABC, 20th Century Fox, and Sony Pictures while making numerous overtures to network and cable executives in hopes of negotiating a paid online television service.

—p.33 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

More troublingly, at least for those who believed the Internet upstarts would inevitably vanquish the establishment dinosaurs, are the ways the new and old players have melded. Condé Nast bought Reddit, Fox has a stake in Vice Media, Time Warner bet on Maker Studios (which is behind some of YouTube’s biggest stars), Apple works intimately with Hollywood and AT&T, Facebook joined forces with Microsoft and the major-label-backed Spotify, and Twitter is trumpeting its utility to television programmers. Google, in addition to cozying up to the phone companies that use its Android operating system, has struck partnership deals with entertainment companies including Disney, Paramount, ABC, 20th Century Fox, and Sony Pictures while making numerous overtures to network and cable executives in hopes of negotiating a paid online television service.

—p.33 A Peasant's Kingdom (11) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
46

The professions, as many others have observed, have served as a kind of “class fortress,” excluding talented, motivated people in service of monopolistic self-preservation. (“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution” is known in tech circles as the Shirky principle.) [...]

extremely true of tech too tho lmao

—p.46 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The professions, as many others have observed, have served as a kind of “class fortress,” excluding talented, motivated people in service of monopolistic self-preservation. (“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution” is known in tech circles as the Shirky principle.) [...]

extremely true of tech too tho lmao

—p.46 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
49

The corollary of Benkler’s and Shirky’s argument is that only those who despise their work deserve to be paid for their efforts. It’s worth pointing out that these men—despite their enthusiasm for social production—release their books with conventional publishers and hold positions at elite academic institutions. Surely they do not believe their work as professional writers, researchers, and teachers is suspect because they were compensated. There is a note of truth in the idea that adversity fuels creativity, but when reduced to an economic truism—a decline in industry profitability won’t hurt artistic production because artists will work for beer—the notion rings not just hollow but obscene.

lol

—p.49 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The corollary of Benkler’s and Shirky’s argument is that only those who despise their work deserve to be paid for their efforts. It’s worth pointing out that these men—despite their enthusiasm for social production—release their books with conventional publishers and hold positions at elite academic institutions. Surely they do not believe their work as professional writers, researchers, and teachers is suspect because they were compensated. There is a note of truth in the idea that adversity fuels creativity, but when reduced to an economic truism—a decline in industry profitability won’t hurt artistic production because artists will work for beer—the notion rings not just hollow but obscene.

lol

—p.49 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
50

Yet the challenge of maintaining oneself in a world of money is hardly a problem unique to the creatively inclined. This dilemma may not trouble those who choose to pursue wealth above all else, but most people seek work that feeds both the spirit and the belly. Likewise, the cultural realm is not the only sphere in which some essential part cannot be bought or sold. Teaching, therapy, medicine, science, architecture, design, even politics and law when practiced to serve the public good—certainly the gift operates within these fields as well. The gift can even be detected in supposedly menial jobs where people, in good faith, do far more than meager wages require of them. Creative people are not the only ones who struggle desperately to balance the contradictory demands of the gift and the market. But culture is the domain where this quandary is often most visible and acknowledged. Culture is one stage on which we play out our anxieties about the impact of market values on our inner lives. As we transition to a digital age, this anxiety is in full view.

imo this is less about culture (at least in the plausible variant of the argument she's addressing) and more about marginal cost. think about it more tho

—p.50 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Yet the challenge of maintaining oneself in a world of money is hardly a problem unique to the creatively inclined. This dilemma may not trouble those who choose to pursue wealth above all else, but most people seek work that feeds both the spirit and the belly. Likewise, the cultural realm is not the only sphere in which some essential part cannot be bought or sold. Teaching, therapy, medicine, science, architecture, design, even politics and law when practiced to serve the public good—certainly the gift operates within these fields as well. The gift can even be detected in supposedly menial jobs where people, in good faith, do far more than meager wages require of them. Creative people are not the only ones who struggle desperately to balance the contradictory demands of the gift and the market. But culture is the domain where this quandary is often most visible and acknowledged. Culture is one stage on which we play out our anxieties about the impact of market values on our inner lives. As we transition to a digital age, this anxiety is in full view.

imo this is less about culture (at least in the plausible variant of the argument she's addressing) and more about marginal cost. think about it more tho

—p.50 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
55

[...] By 1972 blue-collar workers were fed up, too, with wildcat strikers at auto factories protesting the monotony of the assembly line. The advances of technology did not, in the end, liberate the worker from drudgery but rather further empowered those who owned the machines. By the end of the 1970s, as former labor secretary Robert Reich explains,

a wave of new technologies (air cargo, container ships and terminals, satellite communications and, later, the Internet) had radically reduced the costs of outsourcing jobs abroad. Other new technologies (automated machinery, computers, and ever more sophisticated software applications) took over many other jobs (remember bank tellers? telephone operators? service station attendants?). By the ’80s, any job requiring that the same steps be performed repeatedly was disappearing—going over there or into software.

—p.55 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

[...] By 1972 blue-collar workers were fed up, too, with wildcat strikers at auto factories protesting the monotony of the assembly line. The advances of technology did not, in the end, liberate the worker from drudgery but rather further empowered those who owned the machines. By the end of the 1970s, as former labor secretary Robert Reich explains,

a wave of new technologies (air cargo, container ships and terminals, satellite communications and, later, the Internet) had radically reduced the costs of outsourcing jobs abroad. Other new technologies (automated machinery, computers, and ever more sophisticated software applications) took over many other jobs (remember bank tellers? telephone operators? service station attendants?). By the ’80s, any job requiring that the same steps be performed repeatedly was disappearing—going over there or into software.

—p.55 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
60

In Ribot’s field this means the more uncertain part of the business—the actual writing, recording, and promoting of music—is increasingly “outsourced” to individuals while big companies dominate arenas that are more likely to be profitable, like concert sales and distribution (Ticketmaster, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play, none of which invests in music but reaps rewards from its release). “That technological change is upon us is undeniable and irreversible,” Ribot wrote about the challenges musicians face as a consequence of digitization. “It will probably not spell the end of music as a commodity, although it may change drastically who is profiting off whose music. Whether these changes will create a positive future for producers or consumers of music depends on whether musicians can organize the legal and collective struggle necessary to ensure that those who profit off music in any form pay the people who make it.”

quoting Marc Ribot, NY-based jazz musician

—p.60 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

In Ribot’s field this means the more uncertain part of the business—the actual writing, recording, and promoting of music—is increasingly “outsourced” to individuals while big companies dominate arenas that are more likely to be profitable, like concert sales and distribution (Ticketmaster, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play, none of which invests in music but reaps rewards from its release). “That technological change is upon us is undeniable and irreversible,” Ribot wrote about the challenges musicians face as a consequence of digitization. “It will probably not spell the end of music as a commodity, although it may change drastically who is profiting off whose music. Whether these changes will create a positive future for producers or consumers of music depends on whether musicians can organize the legal and collective struggle necessary to ensure that those who profit off music in any form pay the people who make it.”

quoting Marc Ribot, NY-based jazz musician

—p.60 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago
65

Instead of devising truly liberating ways to harness machines to remake the economy, whether by designing satisfying jobs or through the social provision of a basic income to everyone regardless of work status, we have Amazon employees toiling on the warehouse floor for eleven dollars an hour and Google contract workers who get fired after a year so they don’t have to be brought on full-time. Cutting-edge new-media companies valued in the tens of billions retain employees numbering in the lowly thousands, and everyone else is out of luck. At the same time, they hoard their record-setting profits, sitting on mountains of cash instead of investing it in ways that would benefit us all.

very impressed that Astra Taylor was writing about this stuff when i was basically still a babby

—p.65 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Instead of devising truly liberating ways to harness machines to remake the economy, whether by designing satisfying jobs or through the social provision of a basic income to everyone regardless of work status, we have Amazon employees toiling on the warehouse floor for eleven dollars an hour and Google contract workers who get fired after a year so they don’t have to be brought on full-time. Cutting-edge new-media companies valued in the tens of billions retain employees numbering in the lowly thousands, and everyone else is out of luck. At the same time, they hoard their record-setting profits, sitting on mountains of cash instead of investing it in ways that would benefit us all.

very impressed that Astra Taylor was writing about this stuff when i was basically still a babby

—p.65 For Love or Money (39) by Astra Taylor 3 weeks, 2 days ago