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Against Sharing | Jacobin
Hitting the nail on the head on sharecropping corporations like Uber
sharecropping  uber  economics 
september 2014 by BjornW
Ribbonfarm -- The Locust Economy
'Thinking about locusts and the behavior of customers around services like Groupon, I’ve become convinced that the phrase “sharing economy” is mostly a case of putting lipstick on a pig. What we have here is a locust economy. -- Locust economies are built around 3-way markets: a swarming platform “organizer” player who efficiently disseminates information about transient, local resource surpluses, a locust species in dormant grasshopper mode, and a base for predation that exhibits a scarcity-abundance cycle. -- So long as different locations are not synchronized, a locust market will usually have a surplus somewhere, even if it is a zero-sum or negative-sum market overall. Where that surplus comes from varies. -- Locust swarms are aggressively and energetically social. Remind you of any contemporary pattern of human behavior? -- There seems to be an implicit holier-than-thou assumption among sharing economy evangelists that social sharing is primarily about virtuous behaviors like generosity, empathy, minding the planet, conserving resources, avoiding waste and so forth. Only secondarily do they see it as a zero-sum/negative-sum adaptation to recessionary conditions — Bruce Sterling’s favela chic. They rarely think of it as a predatory behavior at all. -- Once you increase your foraging range sufficiently, “local” means the smallest area within which you never have to pay full price. So the abundance here is an illusion created on top of local scarcity via cheap discovery of transient local surpluses, artificially created by small Jeffersonian middle class actors hopelessly looking for leverage, and co-opted by swarming-platform owners. -- Whether it is underutilized inventory of living space, coupons, parked cars or anything else, for most of the people, most of the time, if you have enough of the market navigation information, and are willing to travel a little further than you normally do, you can always find a deal. -- The catch is of course, that for platform organizers to be profitable, they have to aggregate such slightly evil locust instincts and create locust swarms. -- Starbucks survives, coffee drinking grasshoppers survive, small coffee shops go in and out of business. -- Add the locust-swarming platforms into the mix and you get mechanized, efficient predatory dynamics that speed up the idealism-to-extinction churn rate. -- Throw in a recession, and instead of the devastation of true abundance (such as a harvest season), you get the devastation of a system in a state of scarcity that is trying desperately to send fake abundance marketing signals, in a hopeless fake-it-till-you-make-it attempt at survival. -- In the sharing economy, we may not be eating each other literally, but we’re certainly eating into what Richard Dawkins called the extended phenotype of our neighbors. To the extent that your belongings are a logical expression of your genes and memes sharing them amounts to allowing others to eat them. -- So the harsh bottomline of the locust economies, once the Jeffersonian middle class prey base has been bankrupted, is that we locusts turn on each other. -- We call it peer production and prosumer economics, but it isn’t Jeffersonian producerism. It is locusts in their cannibalistic phase. -- When the harvest is gone, software eating everything translates to prosumers eating each other.' -- Arbit-triage
internet  retribalization  smartmobs  sharecropping  ponzi  arbitrage  economics  greatestdepression  collapse  panarchy  triage 
april 2013 by adamcrowe
Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog -- Workers of the world, level up!
'If Tom Sawyer were alive today and living in Silicon Valley, he might well be bigger than Zuck. Unsourcing reveals that the digital-sharecropping model of low-cost online production has applications beyond media creation and curation. Businesses of all stripes have opportunities to replace paid labor with play labor. Call it functional sharecropping. As Lithium makes clear, customer-service communities don't just pop up out of nowhere. You have to cultivate them. You have to create the right platform to capture the products of the labor, and you have to offer a set of incentives that will inspire the community to do your bidding. You also have to realize that, as is typical of social networks, a tiny fraction of the members are probably going to do the bulk of the work. So the challenge is to identify your star sharecroppers (or "superfans," as Lithium calls them), entice them to contribute a good amount of time to the effort, and keep them motivated with non-monetary rewards. That's where gamification comes in.'
thegamingofeverydaylife  sharecropping  subsistenceclicking 
may 2012 by adamcrowe
Dark data, and how frustrating it is that we can’t see the forest from the trees – Helloform
Fred touches on the same issues that Frank highlighted in his dConstruct talk last year: what do we do with all of this wealth of material we’ve been collecting/ffffinding/scrobbling/liking/favouriting/plus-one-ing.

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sharecropping  distributed  data  ownership  Reading  from google
january 2012 by _m_space

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