Re: nettime commercial communism

2005-07-09 Thread brian carroll
  hi Dave, my apologies for being slow in responding
  to your interesting observations. what surprises me
  is that everyone has a different perspective about
  the questions and i had not considered these points
  of view, so it is exciting to consider it further...

  one difference i tend to see between views is that
  of making them tangible in examples which could/can
  be related to everyday experience. whereas it is a
  bit hard for me to realize a literal manifestation,
  as it is still an abstraction for me and it may not
  correspond 1:1 to more developed views of culture
  in which the economics/politics/sociality are more
  clear, or less fuzzy. i don't know so i am going to
  put some more ideas out here in case others have a
  better idea of what this really is as a questioning.

  for me it is not traditional categories of commerce,
  and political organization which bounds the ideas of
  commercial communism or social capitalism. it does
  not seem to be a thing, possibly it is more of some
  kind of process, a manifestation of proceeding in a
  certain way, regardless of mission statements, etc.
  maybe it is a type of organization of effort, work,
  though, and maybe this appraisal is confused as it
  is only a sketch whereas others who know structures
  that relate to these concepts, inside and out, could
  bring greater fidelity to the domain of these ideas.

  i.e. a given corporation can function with a type of
  governance, even to succeed as a model of governing,
  and yet there would still likely be a dynamic which
  could pursue social capital vs 'communal commerce'
  or commercial communism (to me it is close to being
  equivalent and neutral, to this idea).

  i guess what i am trying to get at, as an idea, is
  that it may not be 'traditional', rather conceptual,
  possibly, in relation to superstructural relations
  with these ideas as they are usually contextualized.
  it may be a function of bureaucracy vs individualism,
  or of a type of cultural determinism, which is also
  not one or the other as a static choice and pathway,
  rather a shifting switch for cultural manifestations.

  for instance, if placing the ideas in a traditional
  bureaucratic organization, two examples might show a
  similarity and difference in the way these ideas seem
  to exist in the macro-sense...

  Thomas P. Hughes (STS, science-technology-culture) is
  a historian of technological systems and i believe in
  one of his works he looks into NASA as an innovational
  organization of large systems. to me NASA is emblematic
  of a 'social capital' approach to ideas in which the
  role of the individual and ability to change, question,
  review, adjust and to invest in long-term exploration,
  research and development, and to make it break-even in
  some cultural sense - shows the potential and a unique
  value system which harnesses human goals, imaginations,
  and translates this way. a bureaucracy could not come
  up with the idea of hitting a comet on the 4th of July
  and the social value as an event, and real scientific
  value, etc. there is something about NASA that is in
  some way a counterpoint to most everything else, in
  the corporate world, maybe DARPA too (though possibly
  less altruistic), the national park systems, etc. an
  aspect that ideas have an overriding value and guide
  decision-making and ideas of how profit is evaluated.
  as such it may be how it interacts with the 'frontier'
  and this makes it a necessity, avant-garde bureaucracy.

  the opposite approach could be seen in something like
  the World Trade Center redevelopment efforts where the
  bureaucracy functions as a giant automatized machinery
  which 'develops' by way of a process that is fixed and
  unable to change, to question, as it has an answer of
  its own design that requires that it does not need to
  ask particular questions, or special values, as it is
  a monolithic approach to, say, business-as-usual. it
  may be a functionalism, a pragmatism that this is how
  things get done and all that needs to be done is to
  get out of the way. maybe this is how countries are
  terraformed over time, developed by fixed processes,
  like programming code for a 'suburb' as an idea, in
  which the variables are figured out by earlier tests
  (in social capital ideas/investments) then to later
  become steamrollered as a prefigured solution, which
  may have its profit and economic value in not opening
  up the processes to questioning (as it would lose its
  efficiencies this way, reinventing the wheel at every
  junction, or reinventing the suburb at every city).
  in this way it may be considered the rear-guard and
  may function within a simple uninterrupted agenda.



  the thing about it, is that it would not necessarily
  have to be a judgment (social capital good, commercial
  communism bad), as it could feasibly exist as the same
  time within an organization or approach, in that some
  problems could 

Re: nettime commercial communism

2005-07-04 Thread David Mandl
This is a fascinating subject.  A few comments, if this thread isn't cold yet:

The days of the paternalistic corporation are over in the U.S., but a handful of
companies still provide a pretty warm cocoon for their employees.  These tend 
to be
some of the bigger and more elite financial companies, and so the beneficiaries
tend to be pretty privileged workers, but it's still surprising what goes on at
some of these places.  (The top executives at nearly every company live in a
virtual parallel universe that few people outside of their circle even know
anything about, and those people are getting more and more lavish perks all the
time, but that's another story.)

In the extreme cases, these companies form almost a SEPARATE GOVERNMENT--not in 
the
sense of lawmakers or -enforcers, but in the sense of protection of their
citizens.  For example, some of them have international SOS numbers for 
employees
to call if they're in trouble anywhere in the world.  This may not seem like 
much,
but it's very revealing about the attitude toward government services at these
elite corporations.  Basically, in cases where it really matters, they wouldn't
dream of relying on the government to take care of them--it's just understood 
that
public services are not good enough for them.  (And this is sort of true, in the
sense that the public service infrastructure is in a constant state of decay--a
vicious cycle, I guess.)  They always employ private security, some of it much 
more
elaborate (and probably more on the ball) than the Feds. Similarly, the idea of
putting your kids in public school (even in wealthy neighborhoods) is often not
even considered: When you're a high-level exec and you relocate, you look for a
house and you look for a private school.

There's a fine but real line between the usual dot-com type benefits (on-site
massages, foosball, or whatever) and other kinds of services that say, We want 
to
control everything ourselves, and not rely on the same public agencies as the
hoi-polloi.  Yes, some of this is the standard behavior of rich people, but 
there
have also been subtle changes in the politics of benefits in the past couple 
of
decades--I'd say Post-Reagan, significantly.

I hate to quote Tom Wolfe, but there was an interesting throw-away line in 
Bonfire
of the Vanities.  The rich, Upper East Side bond trader takes a cab/limousine 
to
work every morning, and this horrifies his father, a genuine Old Wall St. 
aristo,
who took the Lexington Ave. subway to work (a twenty-minute ride) every day of 
his
life. Forty years ago, it would have been inconceivable to actually take a limo 
to
work every day.  Now it's standard practice.  For people at a certain level, the
subways just don't exist.

--Dave.

On Tue, 28 Jun 2005, brian carroll wrote:

  hi Craig,

  .US corporations have long seemed to have
   become communal organizations by way of
   childcare, housing, eating, healthclubs,
   recreation when off work with employees,
   etc. and the role of ideology in culture
   is reinforced by these same mechanisms.

 For a minuscule portion of the working population of the .US perhaps,
 but for the vast majority (and still growing) they get nothing of the
 sort from their paymasters.

  true, most have none of it and few have some of it,
  though i wonder if it may function as part of the
  'ideal' that drives ideology that this system does
  work at some point in some way- and possibly there
  is an element of the casino logic to it, to win big
  by landing in such jobs with the right education, etc.

  the yearly lists of 'best corporations to work for'
  judge these based on employee perks, etc. and during
  the dot-com boom in San Francisco, getting massages
  or playing ping-pong may also qualify in some way
  as to how the 'corporate campus', lifestyle even,
  may not be benign fun but a human resources gambit.
  Google retains this lifestyle and now is at the top,
  and yet it almost function as if a secret society,
  having replaced the machined IBM uniformed workforce.

[...]

--
Dave Mandl
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://www.wfmu.org/~davem




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Re: nettime commercial communism

2005-07-04 Thread Douwe Osinga
I blogged about something similar about a year ago, Are we too poor for
communism: http://douweosinga.com/blog/0407/2004Jul13_1. I now work for
Google, which arguably is both a big company and a dotcom survivor and it is
a case in point. Especially if you travel in between engineering offices - 
you visit the New York office and your badge is your passport - it gets you 
an appartment, free food and instant friends. At the same time, there is of
course a huge difference in wealth between Googlers, depending on their
stock option situation. But I think that the bottom line is that for a lot
of engineer type of persons, a lot of material things are just pesky details
that are not worth it to spend time on, so a situation where the company
arranges for these things just makes sense.

Douwe

On 7/2/05, David Mandl [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 This is a fascinating subject. A few comments, if this thread isn't
 cold yet:

 The days of the paternalistic corporation are over in the U.S., but a
 handful of companies still provide a pretty warm cocoon for their
 employees. These tend to be some of the bigger and more elite
 financial companies, and so the beneficiaries tend to be pretty
 privileged workers, but it's still surprising what goes on at some of
 these places. (The top executives at nearly every company live in a
 virtual parallel universe that few people outside of their circle even
 know anything about, and those people are getting more and more lavish
 perks all the time, but that's another story.)
 ...


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#  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: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net