This book argues that, as industrial capitalism enters a period of prolonged crisis, a new paradigm of ‘industrious modernity’ is emerging. Based on small-scale, commons-based and market-oriented entrepreneurship, this industrious modernity is being pioneered by the many outcasts that no longer find a place within a crumbling industrial modernity.
This new industriousness draws on the new planetary commons that have been generated by the globalization of industrial capitalism itself. The outsourcing of material production to global supply chains has made the skills necessary to engage in commodity production generic and common, and the globalization of media culture and the internet have generated new knowledge commons. Together these new commons have radically reduced the capital requirements to engage in economic activity, and are providing new, highly efficient tools of productive organization at little cost.
This timely analysis of the new forces of change in our societies today will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the impact of digital technologies and the future of capitalism.
(2019) by Adam Arvidsson (https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Adam_Arvidsson)(@adamerica70 – but hasn’t tweeted since 2016)
Adam Arvidsson teaches Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen. His main interest lies with the new forms of cooperation enabled by new media and their economic and political potential. He has just published Brands. Meaning and Value in Media Culture (London, Routledge 2006) in which he proposes a theory of the brand as a key institution in the information economy. Adam is a member of the kesera think tank and the actics ethical software company.
intro’d via high rec from michel here:
a message to anyone who values my judgment: if you read only one book this decade, please do read Changemakers from Adam Arvidsson, it’s an absolute masterpiece, as important as was Polanyi about the previous transformation:
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/mbauwens/status/1204713860676108288
included in acknowledgements: michel
1 – to change the world: on industrious modernity
our times are marked by a pessimism of the intellect and an optimism of the will.. our intellectual pessimism manifests itself in the fact that *no one seems to have a serious alt to our present predicament.. t our wilful optimism means that, despite the absence of alts, there is a general desire for change
rather.. *we can’t yet hear a serious alt to our present predicament.. which is huge part of predicament.. we need a means to listen to all the voices
(and gosh.. i agree with serious ness.. but am thinking you mean by serious: one that doesn’t abandon market ness
to change the world has become the motto of a new generation.. *university-educated knowledge workers are toiling way in start ups and social enterprises, working in peer production projects and on new crypto ventures that they hope will have an impact beyond the, often elusive, prospect of economic gain..
as of yet, *nobody has envisioned a viable alt to a social model in what appear to be terminal decline, must less any realistic strategy for confronting an ecological crisis of potentially game changing dimensions..
*well.. none that you are hearing..
let’s focus on that.. the listening to all the voices part.. that would/could be the serious change.. ie: tech as it could be..
marshal berman perhaps most famous theorist of modernity described this condition as one of constant flux: ‘to be modern is to find ourselves in an environ that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world – and, at the same time, threatens to destroy everything we have/know/are
industrial modernity – 1970s – the diff is that industrial modernity came w a blueprint; there was a plan for the future, and everyone knew more or less what they were striving for (communism, liberal democracy, national sovereignty,e t).. today this sense of direction has been lost: we are left w change itself, as something of an empty signifier.. we have no idea what this change will lead to or what the resulting future might look like..t
that’s how it needs to be.. because: 1\ thinking we need a plan (not just the 70s plan) is what got us here in the first place 2\ everyone intuitively knows what matters most ..just need a means/mech to get us back/to listening to/for that (the deep enough each soul is already craving/knowing)
*not a good word.. longing would be more fitting to fittingness
but perhaps another reason why we cannot imagine a diff future is because it is still early days
rather.. because we’re not quiet enough.. to hear/see
indeed, to want to change the world w/o knowing exactly into.. what is not a historically new condition. it is a feature of what i call industrious modernity, a kind of modern experience that has been w us in the past.. it was the experience of an emerging urban civil society organized around guilds and fraternities and built around new ideas of justice and freedom.. – of the ‘many headed hydra’ of soldiers, sailors, beggars, convicts and other outcasts from a crumbling feudal order who, along w the new commoners, challenged ingrained notions of hierarchy and privilege..
industrious: diligent and hard-working
according to max weber, the protestants ushered in industrial modernity thru (sic – have though) their sheer industriousness, their hard work and self sacrifice.. they strove to improve themselves and the world around them, w/o really knowing what they wanted to achieve.. instead, their striving was clouded in the mystical concept of a ‘divine calling’.. like us, they had only a very vague idea of where they were headed, and they might not have liked the results of their strivings, had they come to know them. they were simply not able to see the future that they were in the process of making. now a similar experience of industrious modernity is affirming itself again, as the ‘iron cage’ of industrial modernity is falling apart..
god i hope not – won’t come thru hard work and sacrifice and diligence
to some extent, the return of industrious modernity is a cultural fact.. it is the result of the successive dismantling of the grand narratives that marked industrial modernity, like communism, liberal democracy or the affluent consumer society, along w the social movements that they inspired.. when there are no great schemes left to give direction, the only way to give *political or at least civic significance to one’s life is to try to change one’s own circumstance, or at the most to do good and to have an impact in some abstract an generic sense.. but industrious modernity is also supported by a particular material condition..
*why do we want/need that?
life in industrial modernity might have been alienating and boring, a life for specialists w/o minds, pleasure seekers w/o heart, as weber wrote in the concluding pages on his essay on the protestant ethic.. but at least people’s *existential security was in some sense shielded..you could toil on in your corporate job faithful that, somehow, in the grand scheme of things, what you did made a difference and contributed to a **greater cause
really?.. *that (security et al).. and thinking that.. poison/cancer
when these grand narratives have evaporated, the bs nature of many corp jobs reveals itself.. indeed, david graeber, who coined the term, suggests that about 40%.. feel their jobs are pointless..
gabor saying in uk – 80%
industrious modernity is the experience of people who face insecurity w/o the shield of a corp org and ever less of a protective welfare state – people who have to eke out an existence in the middle, between the destitute reality of employment and the safety of a stable career.. t
if we truly want change.. we have to realize that a ‘stable career’ is not stable.. which we’ll probably keep not doing until we let go of money because sinclair perpetuation law et al
indeed, the dream of a better life has probably never been as widespread and tangible as it is now.. for most.. the aspiration is to set up your own business, to be your own man (or woman) .. to create a life that is a little better, a little more dignified and a little more meaningful
to many, the ethical and existential imperative to change the world finds its expression in business and entrepreneurship..
yeah.. too bad.. ie: sinclair perpetuation law et al
today’s petty producers imagine a decentralized market econ marked by transparency and relative equality – a world where econ action remains embedded in moral and civic responsibility; where ‘value sovereignty’ allows you to stay on the market while being true to your ethical aspirations
yeah.. don’t think that’s possible.. and.. thinking that’s possible is killing us..
let go.. unlearn.. et al.. ie: cummings art\ist law.. et al
this book is an attempt to sketch out the emerging features of the contemp condition of ‘industrious modernity’ and to speculate on its role in the coming transition.. the aim is not to promote a singular great idea, nor to offer any hope for future redemption, but rather to attempt a realistic sociological analysis of how contemp development might pan out
how did digital techs once so pregnant w hopes of social/econ transformation, end up preserving, and sometimes reinforcing, the status quo
we never got to the deeper problem first.. so we’ve not yet realized tech as it could be.. – a mech to listen deeper.. to every voice every day.. so we could find each other.. ie: augmenting interconnectedness
proponents of commonism imagine a society built on simple commodity exchange between roughly egalitarian actors who remain true to their value horizons.. to date, few of these initiatives are able to sustain themselves economically .. most remain dependent on the ‘true ‘ capitalist econ or on state funding in some form
overall this is not an optimistic book.. unlike .. paul mason or jeremy rifkin, i do not suggest that the present developments in the digital econ will make us stumble, almost inadvertently, in to communism.. nor do i think the contemp crisis – of capitalism/environ – will kick new life into old social movements and that these will somehow take over .. and bring us back to safety and direction of industrial modernity once again
that’s good.. industrial modernity.. not an undisturbed ecosystem (which is where we need to get back/to)
an industrious revolution.. industriousness, however, is not revolutionary; it is a matter of incremental piecemeal change that takes place w/in a social model that appears to be unaltered at the surface, until it bursts thru in the spectacular events that we associate w the origins of modernity..
it looks like the system might contract, rather than expand.. the likely outcome is a gradual but accelerating collapse, as systemic dysfunctionalities, ecological disasters and increasing costs related to resource scarcity overlap. in this drawn out period of systemic collapse, industrious modernity might provide the blueprint for a diff social model, able to survive, and perhaps even prosper, in the ‘capitalist ruins’ left behind
2 – the crisis of digital capitalism
but digital techs do not seem to be able to generate enough econ growth to live up to the grandiose expectations that accompanied their arrival, or even to secure a decent standard of living for the growing global workforce.. so far, they have not created an open ended, participatory econ where monopolies have been eroded by the competition from a multitude of small actors and where the new gains resulting from cheaper production and easier transactions have benefitted all..t
why can’t we just ‘change the world’.. not an easy question .. to make a serious attempt, we have to take a closer look at the nature of the digital capitalism that we have come to live in.. (ie: what is capitalism)
or .. come with something for everyone (ie: something that everyone already longs for)
capitalism is a very particular social arrangement where the production of useful things is subordinated to the imperative to make a profit
industrialization institutionalized a number of systemic exchanges .. this made life co dependent on the process of industrial production and capital accumulation and successively altered life as it is lived to fit the model.. the factory’s .. novelty was that the business of making things no longer followed traditional patterns but was org’d by the mechanical rhythm of factory machinery. workers were progressively de skilled; what counted was no longer their ability to craft things, but their ability to do what they were told and to follow the job description.. no longer talking in the fields.. but silence for fixed number of hours..
what was not work became leisure..
the mobilization of pleasures and desire creates a limit to the imagination. it becomes very difficult to imagine a life that i s lived in any other way..
digital techs also proved useful in perpetuation the basic feature of the industrial model
ironically ‘the end of capitalism’ has become a tangible possibility because capitalism has won.. automation et al.. when capitalism has rendered itself independent from its workers and consumers, there is no longer much pressure to innovate..
actually good.. we don’t want workers and consumers.. we don’t want pressure to innovate.. we want desire .. to be curious
capital has expanded its metabolic processes to reach deep into the intimacy of the lifeworld, subsuming life itself and transforming it into capital that can potentially be exploited in all of its moments – nothing is safe anymore; love, friendship, sex, hunger, everything can be transformed into an asset that contributes to the capitalist accumulation process..
yeah.. deeper.. is that we’re whales in sea world.. let’s fix that first
the outcasts form global capitalism use these new commons to realize alt productive networks along w alt life forms.. there is no new ‘movement’ intent on taking over the forces of production..
yeah.. production isn’t the point.. it’s been a huge distraction/cancer
at this point the creation of an alt takes the form of a re appropriation rather than a revolution
yeah.. let go
3 – the industrious econ
industrial modernity changed everything.. depended on production. often at cost to both ‘people and planet’..
however, industrial modernity is not the only kind of modernity that is possible.. (see p2 on modernity).. today seeing seeds of a new kind of industrious modernity.. return of ancient condition.. small scale and labour intensive production
industriousness entail a mentality of making do and adapting to what is at hand.. informal, entrepreneurial, street level, bricolage.. it does not require much capital and virtually everybody knows how to do it.. it is a world closer to the needs of everyday life, more preoccupied w *use values than w cornering markets and investing in grand schemes.. in tech terms, the industrious econ tends towards a natural, smithian equilibrium.. using available resource in new, more efficient ways
today we can do better than that.. beyond *use values
in modern life, endless accumulation, greater efficiency and continuous improvement has become an institutionalized imperative. it is a goal that one has to keep aspiring to, whether on believes in it or not.. it is not longer a passion or even a choice as it was for the puritans..
today as the industrial order is crumbling around us, dedicated hard work also becomes a way of convincing ourselves that we are doing something meaningful, that what we are doing is important (that we have an impact) and that consequently we have a status (a reputation)..
perhaps most importantly of all, when the future is uncertain, hard work makes it seem, if not predictable, then at least made up of a succession of projects that each comes w calculable risks.. the transformation of fundamental uncertainty into calculable and actionable risks, is no longer performed by the institutions of weber’s old iron cage, but must be achieved by working passionately for something we believe in, be this changing the world, the sublime aesthetics of craft ale or simply ourselves.. such industriousness has become the most important existential response to the precarity that comes w systemic collapse
like for weber, today’s industriousness is closely linked to the notion of entrepreneurship. it is an entrepreneur that you can change the world.. schumpeter: ‘braking w tradition and actin w confidence beyond the range of familiar beacons’..
frank knight.. suggested the entrepreneur is a person who is able to confront radical uncertainty and transform it into something that can be acted upon, into a set of calculable and actionable risks..
in the end, the most important component of industrious entrepreneurship is to invent a narrative of the future that domesticates it and renders it actionable and, in a certain sense predictable.. if only in an imaginary way
rather than ‘real’ entrepreneurs, such actorpreneurs (ie: business cards, sm, but not producing anything of value) were engaged in performing entrepreneurship as an existential project, as a way of coping and surviving..
expansion of entrepreneurship: a business is not necessarily understood as a money making enterprise. rather a business is a generally efficient way of intervening in the world and designing a solution to a problem or a response to a need.. ‘microbusiness revolution: a way of earning a good living while crafting a life of independence and purpose’
your ideas can change the world. if you believe in something strongly enough, desire it strongly enough, it will come true.. translate into silicon valley speak, this becomes the doctrine of ‘disruption .. that a singularly powerful idea, aided by tech means, can change the ways in which the world works.. in the end the market is the judge.. wealth is but a means to keep doing so.. reward lies in spiritual fulfillment of realizing his (zuck’s) vision and himself
hard work served to prove to oneself, to experience tat one was among the chosen few.. for today’s industrious entrepreneurs, rewards are similarly practical an immanent.. to be part of something and to be able to experience that every day. to wrk w the 3d printers, laser cutters, to be a ‘maker’.. to go to pitches and networking events.. to be a start upper about to disrupt things.. not just creatives.. also ubers and airbnb.. thinking they are doing it for experience/sharing.. but end up not
communities are vital to the collab work that marks contemp industriousness..
in our study, industrious communities, peer to peer communities and co working communities (*often painstakingly supported by a community manager) work as a constant source of collective enthusiasm..t
yeah.. see.. that’s a sign we’re doing it wrong.. let go
let’s just trust the enthusiasm/energy curiosity generates
in this way ( mailing lists et al) communities build the idea of a specific activity at the heart of the community (making, fee software, neo traditional foods) as pregnant w a significance that goes far beyond the economic
not far enough.. let’s let 8b daily curiosities be the non/specific activity/heart
it is thru the community that a practice, otherwise perhaps difficult to appreciate, becomes enriched and acquires meaning and value..t
perhaps we have this all backwards.. (if we want alive people).. let’s start with what people appreciate (aka: what they are curious about that day) first.. and everyday.. then ‘becoming enriched/meaningful’ becomes irrelevant (because it already is)
‘at our co working space we really encourage any tiny win that you could just think of .. because it’s so easy to get bogged down..’
sign we’re doing it wrong – incentives et al
max weber’s puritans accumulated capital thru ‘compulsive saving’; today’s industrious modernity is oriented towards the accumulate of social capital thru compulsive celebration..these communities provide a source of recognition and reputation that enhances the existential meaning of a pursuit.
rather.. enhances/continues-poisoning whales in sea world
reputation killing us.. et al
the new availability of common resources and versatile tech platform means that the number of issues that can be transformed into an entrepreneurial project w relative ease has expanded..t
a successful start up, even if it is simply in it for the money, needs to be able to argue that it is constructing a new reality, that it is changing the world in some way, because that is what sets it apart from others.. at the heart this has to do w the productive conditions of a commons based econ.. when capital requirements and barriers to entry are low, when the skills and competences needed are commonly available and easily apprehended, the only alt to cut throat competition is diversification..
let s let go more.. ie: diversify.. everyday.. to 8b thumbprints.. ie: cure ios city
sounds like you’re trying hard to disassociate with money.. w/o really letting go
in lay terms, my uni ed no longer lands me a job but it allows me to embark on a practice that i can understand as not only existentially meaningful but also as a form of virtuous action, or even something of political significance
whoa.. let go
today we are seeing the beginning of a coming together of popular and intellectual exponents of contemp industriousness, as the world is connected and networked in new ways.. for them, hard work informed by an industrious ethic becomes a way of creating new life in the ruins
not new.. let go.. good bye cycle..
4 – industrious capitalism
the emergence of a non capitalist industrious middle (capital poor and labour intensive.. wider value than capital accumulation) has made capitalism more industrious as well
because it’s not non capitalist
the process of outsourcing, together w the rise of ‘immaterial’ production in the form of a service and brand econ, has also contributed significantly to the creation of new global commons
wordsmithing.. not really commons
karl polanyi’s great transformation was a process in which the commons became capital.. as the commoners left the land and entered into factories, their bodies were transformed into variable capital, embodiments of a new social force, generic and abstract labour.. this process of capitalist appropriation of the commons still goes on, particularly in the global south, where land grabbing along w military force, masked under slogans like the ‘war on drugs’ is repeating the process of primitive accumulation of the early modern european countryside.. a the same time, however, capitalist development has created new kinds of commons..
the idea that capitalism, and particularly digital capitalism generates new kinds of commons that it cannot fully control or valorize is the cornerstone of many analyses of the digital econ.. most famously perhaps, antonio negri, michael hardt, massimo de angelis and other exponents of the italian ‘school’ of autonomist marxism have made this a key tenet in their analysis of contemp capitalism.. advance capitalism accumulation builds on forms of social coop that are embedded in ordinary life processes and there fore not fully controlled by the wage relation..
yeah.. not so .. wage/money deeply embedded.. more so the less visible it is.. and so .. not commons
to marx the development of the factory system thus also entails a process of remediation of cooperation, whereby new social relations new forms of ‘commoning’ are created w/in the factory system and these in turn come to generate and embody new kinds of commonly available knowledge, or general intellect. at a certain point, this general intellect becomes the most important force of production.. surpassing the ‘theft of labour time’ and her it is as if we go directly to ‘post capitalism’ not w a bang but w a whimper..
after para on this knowledge from factory is tacit.. can only learn it from working in factory.. and then that is the common knowledge
let go of production.. management.. control.. numbers..
*replacing exchange value and the market w bureaucratic control of the ‘visible hand’.. the corporation becomes organized around the protection and cultivation of its proprietary intellectual capital.. the nurture of the corp knowledge commons thru managerial tactics that support continuous innovation, creativity or even collab communities, along w their legal protection thru intellectual property law becomes the secret to success in the capitalist game in what became known as the ‘knowledge econ’..
*replacing?.. same things.. same song.. 2nd verse english accent little bit worse
the development of digital info and communication techs.. can be understood as, in part, driven by need to integrate a large number of actors, inside as well as outside of corporate orgs w/in extended forms of *commoning, where knowledge and skills are shared..
wow.. abusing *that word like crazy
apple and samsung are basically the same phone, they use the same technical solutions, and sometime even the same factories. in fact, that is why they keep suing each other
in a similar way, the globalization of culture following on the deregulation of the media market in the 80s and its subsequent networking via the internet has entailed a similar process.. nationally or locally specific tradition or lifestyles have been transformed into elements of a new *global commons of planetary dimensions
dang.. try .. a *global market of planetary dimensions.. not commoning/commons
with social media the details of the everyday life of billions of people have been transformed into a gigantic data commons, albeit almost completely controlled by a handful of corporations
dang.. then how is that a commons..? w/in the same sentence.. countering self.. not to mention .. all that data is from whales in sea world.. so non legit .. even if it were being common\ed
branding is about combining specific forms of (in itself commonly available) productive knowledge w specific cultural features (in themselves commonly known and using the (proprietary) data commons to insert the resulting hybrid into the daily life of the right people at the right moment.. logistics, of goods, of knowledge, of aesthetics and affect has become the key to success.. consequently, knowledge and managerial work has become a mater of creating singular combo of such flows: it has become a matter of exercising ‘creativity’ or ‘excellence’ in ways that cannot be prescribed by a job description. at any rate this has been the key suggestion of management thought, at least since the publication of tom peters and robert waterman’s in search of excellence, in 1982.
dang.. sinclair perpetuation law
we have the means for most of the words you are using (ugh) to get back/to what we are all craving.. (rather than continuing to love/perpetuate what we hate et al).. let’s try this flow ie: cure ios city back/to an undisturbed ecosystem (‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows)
(on start ups – vc approval/funded; and platforms) platforms are based on the ownership of an algo and an interface that structure a market
platforms and the vc system rep two important institutional frameworks that have evolved as part of an attempt on the part of the industrial econ to respond to the new industriousness..
testify to the inability of the remains of industrial capitalism to imagine a future substantially diff from the present
diff is our problem.. we keep re doing the same
sv version of ‘disruptive innovation’ masks a fundamental lack of attention to real social needs..t
indeed.. who’s getting that? we need to go deeper enough .. ie: maté basic needs
on chinese alibaba generated 37 m jobs based on small scale industrious enterprise..credit scores based on virtuous behaviour.. et al.. being more efficient that sv version .. however would remain locked into an imaginary that privileges continuous econ growth.. w/in an established consumerist model.. it would also require continuous repression of the kinds of tech and social innovation that might point towards alt arrangements.. would eventually run into eco barriers.. resource/energy scarcity
to be able to do something that is meaningful and true to one’s values, while at the same time surviving by selling the resulting produce on the market is the most common desire that inspires the new industrious econ
ugh.. same song
the aim is mostly not profit maximization
ha.. mostly not
among industrious knowledge workers, most of these attempts (crowdfunding, blockchain for traceability/transparency w/o central control) are inspire, at least to some extent, by notion of sharing, openness or peer production.. .. some even suggest we are witnessing the emergence of anew ‘mode of production’ distinct from both socialism and capitalism. such commons based peer production (cbpp) is characterized by the suspension of both market exchange and central planning in favour of decentralized sharing.. inspired by elinor ostroms’ work.. these theories suggest the commons come w new forms of communitarian governance.. where productive efforts as well as the goods that result from the m are shared according to egalitarian norms and principles..
have to let go of productivity ness
elinor et al
(after quoting bollier and benkler): in short, cbpp is more than a way to org the creation of valuable things; it has the potential to realize a new redistributive econ system as well as an attempt to ‘rescue the messy realities of human existence and social org from the faux regularities and worldview of standard economics, bureaucratic systems and modernity itself
(many working on this commonism) however, few are able to do away w markets entirely
most attempts to institutionalize a commons based value logic build on some form of exchange..t
poison.. marsh exchange law .. et al
on enspiral, sensorica et al.. most operate w some kind of reputation systems..
reputation et al
enspiral et al
(on industrious same as creative a decade ago) however, there are signs that more sustainable forms of autonomous markets might be emerging..
5 – a new industrious revolution?
hartmut rosa: we find ourselves in a’fundamental historical rigidity in which nothing essential changes anymore, however rapidly things may alter on the surface’
intellectuals seem particularly incapable of envisioning a future for our times..t
exactly.. knowledge.. killing us
higashida autism law et al
growing agri productivity created a greater surplus to feed a growing population in better ways
will the potential of blockchains, or some similar, perhaps *more efficient and less energy consuming system to decentralize everything, become the **political infra of a new industrious econ
rather *perhaps more humane.. **an infra for a nother way to live
what we are talking about is not a movement, not a class (at least not yet), but a common experience and an emerging common imaginary
common imaginary.. yeah.. class..? at least not yet.. what..? red flag we’re doing it wrong
we might sense the seeds of a diff imaginary emerging from contemp commons-based industrious actors..t