Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"The sharing economy... is based on evading regulations and breaking the law... and facilitating a bunch of rip-offs"

Well, obviously. But it is nice to see that arguments puncturing the hype of the deregulatory fraud and feudalism of the "sharing economy" have become so tidy and commonsensical. Critics and curmudgeons rolled their eyes at this nonsense from the beginning, of course, but the can-do libertechbrotarians never have time for negative nellies like us while the pop-tech advertorial gizmo-fandom press is so hungry for their preening peen. Neoliberal and futurological enthusiasms like the digital sharecropping economy of crowdsourcing and Big Data targeting ride tides of hype and terror, facilitated by loose talk tapping into irrational passions like greed and panic and fandom, but are hard to sustain when people talk sense, appealing to concerns about sustainability, safety, fairness, susceptibility to abuse. Once that tide turns, I'm happy to say, it turns. "Fashion," wrote Oscar Wilde, "is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." In this time of acceleration of accelerating change and disruptive disruption of disruption the vicissitudes of libertopian and techno-utopian fashion usually take much longer than six months to get their tired asses off the runway and never, poor dears, arrive at The Future. Still, as Heidi Klum puts the point: "In fashion, you are either in or you are out." It looks like it's time for the meme hustlers to pull the next con from their grab bag of neologisms, to market the next landfill-destined crap gizmo that Will Change Everything or the next plutocratic policy that Make The World A Better Place.

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