Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

It’s hard to imagine a more extreme form of the contradiction on display at Manchester than a social network of more than two billion people ruled by a single billionaire. The network of capital has become denser, and more literal, than Engels could’ve possibly imagined, while its control has become concentrated in even fewer hands.

To observe that Facebook has relatively few workers is not to suggest that the work they perform is not important. Without content moderators, data center technicians, site reliability engineers, and others, Facebook’s product would become unusable and its business would collapse. But their collective labor, like that of the workers within Engels’ father’s factory, depends on many concentric circles of collective labor outside of it. And, for Facebook and the other firms that fall under the umbrella of tech, the share of value supplied by these external layers is especially vast.

One source is the workers who invented the software, hardware, protocols, and programming languages that laid the basis for today’s tech industry. These were developed over the course of several decades, starting with the creation of the first modern electronic computers in the 1940s, and relied heavily, often exclusively, on US military funding. Another source is the workers who, in the present day, continue to make and maintain the stuff on which tech profits depend. While this work takes many forms, most of it is menial or dangerous. It includes manufacturing smartphones, mining rare earth elements, and labeling training data for machine learning models.


The upshot is a world where the creation of wealth becomes more collective than ever before. In the nineteenth century, Engels reflected on how capitalism transformed production “from a series of individual into a series of social acts.” The total enclosure of our world by computing means that those social acts can now happen at the scale of entire societies. The industrial factory has become what Terranova and others, building on a term from Italian autonomism, call the “social factory.” The new Manchester is everywhere.

useful summary of the "free labor" debates debate

—p.90 From Manchester to Barcelona (83) by Ben Tarnoff 4 years, 2 months ago