Huffington is never so impolite as to mention that capitalism, which has done well by her and made her a multimillionaire, may be to blame for keeping people working long, sleepless hours. She prefers proposing solutions to diagnosing causes. She tells you to leave your smartphone outside your bedroom, to have warm baths, to disengage. Don’t tackle work emails after a certain time.
Her solutions have the convenient consequence of making you a better worker for your employers, without actually raising your material standard of living. After all, she writes, “it would actually be better for business if employees called in tired, got a little more sleep, and then came in a bit late, rather than call in sick a few days later or, worse, show up sick, dragging themselves through the day while infecting others.” Her advice to her fellow bosses is purely expedient: if the worker drones rest, more labor can be wrung out of them.
on her book Sleep Revolution,
Ultimately, Sleep Revolution tells us very little about what we need to know to get more sleep. Huffington’s slender thesis (“Sleep more so you can make more money”) is covered fully in her 4-minute TED talk on the subject, and solutions to sleeplessness are available in innumerable resources on the internet. The book is less important for what it says and more for what it reveals about Huffington’s place in enabling a particularly rapacious form of capitalism, one which first deprives people of sleep and then sells them the methods by which they might regain some of it.
i love this lol
The most important aspect of the story is not that Obama accepted Cantor Fitzgerald’s offer, but that the offer was made in the first place. Indeed, it’s hard to escape the impression that certain powerful interests are now rewarding the former president with a gracious thanks for a job well done. Rather than asking whether Obama should have turned down the gig, we can ask: if his administration had taken aggressive legal and regulatory action against Wall Street firms following the financial crisis, would they be clamouring for him to speak and offering lucrative compensation mere weeks after his leaving office? It’s hard to think they would, and if a Democratic president has done their job properly, nobody on Wall Street should want to pay them a red cent in retirement. Obama’s decision to take Cantor Fitzgerald’s cash isn’t, therefore, some pivotal moment in which he betrayed his principles in the pursuit of lucre. It’s simply additional confirmation he has never posed a serious challenge to Wall Street’s outsized economic power.
This is why Matthew Yglesias was wrong to characterize Barack Obama’s speaking fee as a betrayal of “everything [he] believes in.” 52 In fact, it was the exact opposite: totally consistent with everything he has always stood for. The point isn’t that he’s “sold out.” It’s that, when the soaring cadences and luminous rhetoric are stripped away, Obama never offered any transformative change to begin with. Thus his $400,000 speech matters, not because it represents a deviation from the norm, or a venal lapse in personal ethics, but because it conveniently demonstrates a pattern that has been there all along.
In the Obama presidency, many liberals found the embodiment of their political ideal: an administration of capable, apparently well-intentioned people with impeccable Ivy League credentials, fronted by a person of undeniable charisma and charm, and with a beautiful and photogenic family to boot.
But examining Obama seriously requires acknowledging the fundamental limits of his brand of politics: a liberalism that continues to trade in the language of social concern while remaining invested in the very institutions undergirding the poverty and injustice it tells us it exists to fight [...]
But Obama’s weaknesses are not the product of some unique personal pathology. He is simply the most charismatic and successful practitioner of an ideology shared by many contemporary Democrats: a kind of Beltway liberalism that sacrifices nearly all real political ambition, espousing a rhetoric of compassion and transformation while rationalizing every form of amorality and capitulation as a pragmatic necessity. In a moment when militancy and moral urgency are needed most, it seeks only innocuous, technocratic change and claims with the smuggest certitude that this represents the best grown adults can aspire to. In a world of spiralling inequality and ascendant corporate tyranny, it insists on weighting equally the interests of all sides and deems the result a respectable democratic consensus. Bearing witness to entrenched human misery, it wryly declares it was ever thus and delights in lazily dismissing critics with scornful refrains like “That will never get through Congress...” Confronted with risk or danger, it willingly retreats to ever more conservative ground and calls the sum total of these maneuvers “incrementalism.” In place of a coherent vision or a clear program of reform, the best it can offer is the hollow sensation of progress stripped of all its necessary conflicts and their corresponding discomforts.
However, not everything online lent itself to the metaphor of a frontier. Particularly in the realm of music and video, artisans dealt with a field crowded with existing content, as well as thickets of intellectual property laws that attempted to regulate how that content was created and distributed. [...] The project of Lessig and others was not to create the conditions for erecting a new society upon a frontier, as a yeoman farmer might, but to politicize this class of artisans in order to challenge larger industrial concerns, such as record labels and film studios, who used copyright to protect their incumbent position. This very different terrain requires a different perspective from Jefferson’s.
recognising this terrain as the latest battleground, maybe?
Since small producers own their own tools and depend largely on their own labor, they do not perceive any conflict between ownership of the means of production and labor: analysis from this standpoint, such as Proudhon’s, tends to collapse these categories together. Marx’s theorization of capitalism centered an emergent class of industrial proletarians, who, unlike small producers, owned nothing but their ability to sell their labor-power for a wage. Without any other means of survival, the proletarian could not experience the “labor market” as a meeting of equals coming to a mutually beneficial exchange of commodities, but as an abstraction from the concrete truth that working for whatever wage offered was compulsory, rather than a voluntary contract. Further, it was this very market for labor-power that, in the guise of equal exchange of commodities, helped to obscure that capitalist profit depended on extracting value from workers beyond what their wages compensated. This surplus value emerged in the production process, not, as Proudhon argued, at a later point where the goods produced were bought and sold. Without a conception of a contradiction between ownership and labor, the petty producer standpoint cannot see exploitation occurring in production.
Instead, Proudhon saw exploitation occurring after production, during exchanges on the market distorted by unfair monopolies held intact through state intervention, with which petty producers could not compete. However, Marx ( 1992) demonstrated that “monopolies” were simply the outcome of the concentration of capital due to competition: in his memorable wording from Capital, “One capitalist always strikes down many others” (929). As producers compete and more and more producers fail and are proletarianized, capital is held in fewer and fewer hands. In other words, monopolies are a feature, not a bug, of market economies.
really good summary
While the thrust of these critiques of copyright focus on egregious overreach by the culture industries and their assault upon all manner of benign noncommercial activity, they also reveal a vision of an alternative cultural economy of independent producers who, while not necessarily anti-capitalist, can escape the clutches of massive centralized corporations through networked digital technologies. This facilitates both economic and political freedom via independence from control and regulation, and maximum opportunities on the market. [...] As it so often does, the fusion of ownership and labor characteristic of the petty producer standpoint, the structure of feeling of the independent artisan, articulates itself through the mantra of “Do It Yourself.”
These analyses and polemics reproduce the Proudhonist vision of an alternative to existing digital capitalism. Individual independent creators will achieve political autonomy and economic benefit through the embrace digital network technologies, as long as these creators are allowed to compete fairly with incumbents. Rather than insist on collective regulation of production, Digital Proudhonism seeks forms of deregulation, such as copyright reform, that will chip away at the existence of “monopoly” power of existing media corporations that fetters the market chances of these digital artisans.
very relevant to decentralisation!!
[...] C4SS subscribes to the techno-utopian potentials for a new arrangement of production driven by digital technology, which has the potential to reduce prices on goods, making them within the reach of anyone (once again, music piracy is held up as a precursor). However, this potential has not been realized because “economic ruling classes are able to enclose the increased efficiencies from new technology as a source of rents mainly through artificial scarcities, artificial property rights, and entry barriers enforced by the state” (Carson 2015a). Monopolies, enforced by the state, have “artificially” distorted free market transactions.
These monopolies, in the form of intellectual property rights, are preventing a proper Proudhonian revolution in which everyone would control their own individual production process. [...] once these artificial monopolies are removed, corporations will lose their power [...]
This revolution is a quiet one, requiring no strikes or other confrontations with capitalists. Instead, the answer is to create this new economy within the larger one, and hollow it out from the inside:
he then goes into the invisible surplus value extracted from proletarian labour undergirding all this. next paragraph ends with
These “companies” of course are staffed by workers very different from “makers,” who work in facilities of mass production. Their labor is obscured by an influential ideology of artisans who believe themselves reliant on nothing but a personal computer and their own creativity.
The goal of this paper is not to question the creativity of remix culture or the maker movement, or to indict their potentials for artistic expression, or negate all their criticisms of intellectual property. What I wish to criticize is the outsized economic and political claims made about it. [...]
Digital Proudhonism and its vision of federations of independent individual producers and creators (perhaps now augmented with the latest cryptographic tools) dominates the imagination of a radical challenge to digital capitalism. Its critiques of the corporate internet have become common sense. What kind of alternative radical vision is possible? Here I believe it is useful to return to the core of Marx’s critique of Proudhon.
The socialization of production under the development of the means of production—the necessity of greater collaboration and the reliance on past labors in the form of machines—gives way to a radical redefinition of the relationship to one’s output. No one can claim a product was made by them alone; rather, production demands to be recognized as social. [...]
[...] The romance of “DIY” obscures the reality that nothing digital is done by oneself: it is always already a component of a larger formation of socialized labor.
!!! so good