dear Brian,

many thanks for this review! I admit would never had the time to read through 
the articles and less than ever spot the tension you highlight, your dedication 
makes it possible for many of us to follow interesting debates as this one. I 
guess we are all familiar with Morozov's ideas by now, certainly more than 

On Thu, 30 Jun 2022, Brian Holmes wrote:

> This is much better than Morozov: it cuts straight to the chase, rather than 
> beating around the theoretical bush. Strom is saying that the new standard 
> model of contemporary capitalism emerges when technoscience is applied to 
> produce and condition the environments in which business operations are 
> carried out and consumer choices are made. This is a classic cybernetic 
> strategy: to become the master of a feedback loop you do not attempt to 
> directly control all the participating nodes. Instead, you create and 
> continuously adjust the framework in which those nodes interact.

reading what you write here really strikes a chord in me, to the point I'll 
shamelessly put forward a link to my much dumber and less theoretical 
witnessing here, from the shores of practice:

what I propose is to look at this "small simulation" of what is happening 
already since some years in the free and open source (F/OSS) world, around the 
landmark acquisition of RedHat by IBM and following the politics of the Linux 
Foundation in imposing (by means of lobbying) new immature software components 
like systemd as a "standard".

> So to wrap it up, the "standard model" of contemporary capitalism is 
> definitely not a firm selling advertising widgets. Nor even less is it a mere 
> parasite feeding on *your* boundless creativity. Instead, the standard model 
> now entails an expansive "mode of practice" that actively builds, monitors 
> and adjusts the productive/communicative frameworks in which the individual's 
> tastes and productive potentials will be expressed, actualized and satisfied, 
> ideally with no leftover energies of dissent.

in F/OSS too, this is not done anymore by competition, like 20 years ago at the 
time Ubuntu desertified the artisanal GNU/Linux distro panorama with its 
"global philantropy" approach. Today this is done by
 1. taking control of the "standard making literature" and processes
 2. turning competition into an R&D playing field to "test standards" and "fail 
fast" (cit. startup economy) at the expense of those who play

this is not anymore about an oligopoly of unfair competitors, but a standard 
establishing presence steering the playing field. the hegemony on point 1. is 
crucial and it can be compared to other contexts (try s/standard/law/). The 
standard making entry point is not anymore based on technical expertise, but is 
fenced by lobbying and a steep price to be paid by active presence through the 
meanders of democracy (the literature) something that only very big 
organizations can afford today in terms of labor and seniorship.

> Still, one large and timely question remains unasked: What are the Googles 
> and Amazons and all their political allies going to do in the face of an 
> emergent governing logic that is not cybernetic at all, but instead, aims at 
> ideological and police control of individual bodies characterized by sex, 
> class and race? In short, what is cybernetic capitalism going to do about the 
> new fascism?

they are going to pose as a democratic presence in the rooms of power, while 
being assured they will be gaining power over guinea pigs who were once 
competitors and nation states since standards and conditions of infrastructure 
access are in their full control and laws just follow (with the golden 
exception of anti-trust laws). For instance see the "kind move" by APPL and 
GOOG to offer access to the BTLE infrastructure on their phones for the 
techno-fascist initiatives of "corona-pass" applications. Those were ultimately 
of no use to defend anyone from the syndemic crisis, while pouring emergency 
funds in the pockets of the tech industry, and activating a number of state 
actors for the R&D of technologies that are now "mature enough" (both 
technically and legally) to be used by their original gatekeepers.



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  Ph.D, CTO & co-founder    software to empower communities
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