Huge excitement building in Hsinchu East…
I can’t call it “climate change”, as that seems too soft – this is not a change of weather, its capitalist polluting bastards and a barometer cannot measure the vicious exploitations underpinning value extraction.
Gary Hall interesting as always. In this article on Academis.edu, here: Should this be the last…
My own take is less well thought out, but I felt Hall’s essay was almost like an airplane safety steward performance – offering us a plastic airbag of comfort adn some nylon socks to distract as we plummet to horrific death, oh, and here are the exit lights to provide a final weird glow as you do. Except Hall’s critique is better than that, and funnier/well written/more important.
When I was invited to be one of these academia.edu editors here was my perhaps a little idealistic response (did not know of the critique by Hall then – but am still using the platform since it’s really just Facebook for dummies, no?).
1) The recommend button has ‘fields’ built, I guess, into its algorithm. What mechanisms are in place, if any, to counter the inherent conservative character of this recommendation system? What I mean is, like any search algorithm, the system works on likes and similarity, when what we probably need is a way to discover not so much what we already know and like, or variations thereof, but truly things that will stretch our ideas, habits of though, disciplinary boundaries. Not just some cod-interdisciplinarity either. is it possible to build an algorithm based on something that acknowledges quality – as this recommendation system is designed to do – but does not congeal disciplines with a tendential affirmation of the centre. This, of course is also the problem with Research Assessment Programmes of Govt and funding bodies, indeed, all discipline based peer review.
2) what is the companies position on attention theory of value? For example, the 40 mins of my time I just spent, the increments of time so many users ofacademia.edu spend etc. The benefit of using the site is not exactly a wage. Like peer review for mainstream publishing houses, academia.edu seems to benefit massively from unpaid labour. What mechanisms are in place to recompense user-workers for this astonishing gift of free labour. A share scheme for example. Otherwise what differentiates academia.edu from value extraction of the most virulent kind – unpaid exploitation of willing dupes, thriving on people’s egoistic desire to check their H-index or some such? Is there a discussion within the company of public ownership, distributed ownership, or at least transparency of accounts? Uber, airbnb etc have been starting to get some bad press of late, it might be good to head that off with a share distribution scheme so that academics can make a buck out of their obviously welcome labour.
Read Gary Hall’s essay – click below:
The Blue Books:
Marx’s Capital as guide for engagement at work.
Abstract: The figure of the factory inspector is set out by Marx, primarily in ‘The Working Day’ chapter of Capital, volume one, not as an uncritically approved person of unassailable credentials, but as an advocate of investigation that does a service for the working class ‘that should never be forgotten’. The Factory Inspector most often named is Leonard Horner, and his work in the Blue Books, parliamentary reports appearing at least annually, was read by Marx as raw material for his examination of conditions in the industrial factories of 19th Century capitalism. For this chapter Marx also read Dickens and Engels, and many other sources for his commentaries on the struggles over wages, hours, child labour and education. The introduction of the Factory Acts ensured a modicum of education for children, with limits on the number of consecutive hours they may be forced to work. Marx’s critique of these concessions develops within an argument that exhorts collective struggle, and investigation of the workers themselves involve in this struggle. That his argument was also against slavery, bonded labour, and exploitation worldwide is a contextual lesson that can suggest practical ways to engage ethnography and workplace inquiry today.
Key words: Factory, workplace, inquiry, ethnography, Marx, Dickens, Engels, Spivak
Read the whole draft here.
Quentin Lewis has given us an interesting, painstakingly researched to the point of head-scratching impressively-obsessively detailed, study of Marx’s penchant for cigars. Full draft here. The text even berates him a little for supporting this vile capitalist habit. Ha, as if individual contradictions are not a part of all individual mechanisms for self-reproduction – next we’ll have to give up coffee, or cocaine, or mobile phones because they are produced in exploitative ways. Oh, wait, yeah, that IS necessary, but will it happen, or is it better to work on the overthrow of this vile capitalist system that sells rotten blood-stained things as necessities to us from cradle to grave, with many of them explicitly designed to put us there (the grave I mean, killing us all more or less swiftly for profit through alcohol, or overwork). Even the puritans will die of righteousness in this obscene system. But that’s not the point. Here I just wanted to note, and promote, the curiosity of this detailed text on Marx shopping.