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Showing posts from February 3, 2013

Liberated by robots

At the beginning of capitalism stands the beast – as in all social orders – and at its limit stands the robot. The robot is one of those fascinating border objects. Generated within capitalism as a commodity to produce commodities, the robot – even more than the proletariat – digs the grave of capitalism, to use Marx’s phrase.  Paul Krugman is quoted   in a recent New Yorker piece on our dark robotic future   as saying: “Smart machines may make higher G.D.P. possible, but also reduce the demand for people—including smart people. So we could be looking at a society that grows ever richer, but in which all the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots.”   Which gives us a definition of us mortals that transcends biology and mechanics – it is ownership that lords it over things and people. Robots can’t own, in this scenario – just as the computers that are now programmed to plunge into the market and out of the market in microseconds, seeking micro-point differences on w

A guide to self-scabbing

After I put up my post about being ripped off by that feeble excuse for a press, Mark Batty Publishers, I received the following comment: “New to publishing? Sounds like it. The net is filled with thousands of books that will never see the light of day. Sales forces force that shit for pre-ordering. Take them to small claims if you're really upset. Otherwise you just sound like a bitchy child.” Now, my response to this  was the common-sensical remark, "stuff it up your asshole, fool". Sufficient to the provocation was the jibe thereof.  But I further thought that this comment deserved more philosophical reflection, as it was a useful window into the world we live in - the world oof self-scabbing.  First, however, like good old Marxists, we have to place the phenomenon of self-scabbing in the larger system under which we all live and rot. I’d define the current world system by the fact that it is dominated in many ways by the class that owns the means of c