Jordan's interesting observation parallels my predictions for a
long time about an economy based on the desire for and scarcity of
attention from others. Self-revelation is generally a good way to
garner attention, or to add to attention one gets from the already
attentive. Whether the lack he proposes is internal to the psyche or
simply a consequence of the normal human need for attention, and its
increasing scarcity as a result of the intensified competition for it,
I am not so sure.

The abundance of "surplus energy" is also a valid point, in that the
forms of energetic activities such as farming or manufacturing work
that had to be carried on by the majority in the past have now been
out-moded, leading to affluent searches for outlets for many in the
"advanced" world, and much more impoverished searches for the same
for others in the same countries and even more in the others. the
rise of the Attention Society is one result. ( The phrase "Attention
Economy" which I long have used for this new "mode of production"
has apparently been bowdlerized to mean something having to do with
advertising, so I am returning to an older phrase.)

Often the outlet in the poorest countries is constant war,
making them even poorer. ( This comes out, in spite of
everything , in pro- imperialist Niall Fergusons's NY Times
review of conservative(?) Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion
t.html_r=1&8bu&emc=bu&oref=slogin. ) One can hope that as cheaper
ways to use the Internet proliferate even there, and as new methods
of seeking attention, or at least the capacity to play Grand Theft
Auto are spread, war will not seem as good an outlet even among the
poorest. There might even be some amelioration of poverty resulting
from new attention-getting capacity.

As to the desire to show oneself, this seems to come naturally to
infants and small children. Then culture takes over. Standard,
Calvinist-influenced capitalist (and socialist) upbringing was against
"beign noticed" but with the rise of the attention society, this is
now changing.

PS see my blog for more on many of these topics.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: [EMAIL PROTECTED] and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Reply via email to