Valley Girl Sez: Liberarianism Sux!

Lisa & Ian Murray seamus at
Wed Aug 23 19:38:27 PDT 2000

I ended up buying both Lessig and Michael Perelman's book and am

about sixity

pages into the latter. I think Mike's book is probably better, or

rather more

suited to what I am looking for: Class Warfare in the Information Age.

So far the basic idea of the book is that information on production or

something I call skill and knowledge, has always been the commodity that

capital wants from labor so as to transform that information into


systems and products, or essentially steal it from the labor

force. The advent

of the computer and internet has essentially accelerated and extended this

process, while reducing and depreciating the class that provides

it. So, not

only libertarians, but main stream political and economic communties would

probably violently criticize the book if they read it at all.

Chuck Grimes =========

Michael P's CWIIA along with his Transcending the Economy [which I speed read today at UW library] point to an issue which is dear to public choice theorists and goes back to at least Adam Smith's Lectures on Jurisprudence--the phenomenon of rent seeking behavior. One could easily argue that all property rights are transfers accomplished under the aegis of the state and the appropriation of communal knowledge by the few is what gives the lie to any libertarian theory of market economies. The "firm" is just a legalized predatory structure to appropriate knowledge that emerges from relatively free flowing speech acts and "tacit knowledge" on the shop floor [or lab...]. Workers are free to contribute knowledge to lower unit costs via skills sharing but god forbid they use their knowledge to challenge the property and contractual structure that makes the appropriation of their knowledge "legal".

Her/Him who controls the structure of property and contract controls the levers of wealth and this makes a mockery of the whole idea of reciprocity, merit and desert which have been around since the old testament and Aristotle. The no-compete clauses and other current forms of property rights smog has a real potential for scuttling the engine of accumulation, especially if cyberworkers and others wake up to an arrangement even the mafia envies [because the enforcement costs of the piracy are placed on the workers themselves]. Hence a lot of what Michael considers waste is just the result of workers resisting this legalized piracy as well as the fact that it creates systemic disincentives to create interesting "work", technological artifacts that would make life easier for far more people with less ecological and social damage [racism, paranoia, crime etc.]. At least, that's what I got out of the first pass at "Transcending"...The nice thing about Michael's books is that he lays it out with stories rather than econospeak.

The good soldier Sveijk's brother,


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