← Notes on comfort(s)
vimeo id = 32540487 (I have to do this instead of a full link, because the wiki freaks out each time I want to post a link to the rest of the internet)
date of the interview unclear, 2011
start point of a contributive economy
In order to define the contributive economy, Stiegler explains by antithesis, detailing what the consumerist model is. This model appears in the 20th century, and is preceeded by a productivist-industial-capitalist model. Capitalism exists before industialism, it's hard to say exactly when capitalism appears, oppinions differ from the 13th century to the 15th century, maybe the 16th century, what is for sure is that there is a pre-industrial capitalism.
The end of the 18th century, start of the 19th, sees the appearance of industrial capitalism. A capitalism of investments, that rests on a tight combination of techinque and science. This will enable very high levels of production, by, not only, but importantly, enhancing productivity. Consequences of this is the destruction of a large portion (peasantry) of the population's physical health, not to mention wealth. The peasants then becomes proletarian, etc, etc.
20th century, something new happens, consumerist capitalism, which comes, in Stiegler's oppinion as a response to industrial capitalism, in a way to reply to the contradictions of productivist capitalism, that Marx had pointed out. The difference between the point of view that Marx argues and the one that is suppored by Stiegler at Ars Industrialis is that Marx says that capitalism does not want to go beyond it's own contractions. Ars Industrialis says that this is a bit more complicated. Maybe it can't surpass it, but it can defintively find ways of differing the deadlines. In this century then appears the notion of consumerism, one that is likened to Fordism at first, and as a difference to productivist capitalism which supposes the proletarisation of the producers —the workers, that then become proletarian, and then lose all of their profesionnal know how— in this century, it's not only the workers that lose their know how, it is also the consumers that lose their savoir vivre.
The free software inspriration
So, what makes a contributive economy necessary? To answer this question, we must look into what is happening in free software. Why is free software winning the * software war? The european comission has published a report, two years ago, saying that it is inevitable. Free software will impose itself, in forms that are still to be defined, that may be very unsatisfactory, but none the less, the model of free software, the open source model will proveil. It is because, for Stiegler, for Ars Industrialis, it is an industrial model that enduces de-proletarisation. By this they mean that up to now, industrial expansion lead to proletariasation. This even leads to a concept developped by Stiegler in one of his books, named as generalised proletarisation*. To explain this, Stiegler often uses the example of Alan Greenspan testifying in October 2008. When he spoke to the chamber of representatives in Washington, he admitted that the automats used for the regulation of finatial markets had entirely gotten away from him and his team. He could not, and nobody else could anticipate, nobody understood it anymore.
When you consider that todays biology engineers are no longer thaught about transformism or evolutionnism, they do not know the history of their disciplin. If they do not know their disciplin, then what do they know? Stigler answers that they do not know things anymore, they know skills, they are competent in things, they have skills, but not knowledge. He adds that it's handy, because you can make them do anything, they have no understanding of what they are doing anyway. This, when pushed to the extreme, is what creates Fukushima. We need to really think about if we should not rebuild a real knowledge, and not simply a skill. Either way, this phenomenon has reached all walks of life, including within universities. There is a clear generalised proletarisation, a loss of knowledge, that is brought on by the fact that we work more and more with systems where we have externalised the skills, the knowledge within the skills, to systems, but we don't have them anymore.
So, if we look at what is going on in free software, and more generally speaking, with hackers, we see people that are from the industrial world, because, there is no doubt, somebody that develops code, is very very industrial. It can not function outside of the realms of the constraints of industrialism, they are of an industrial world. But we see, in fact, we (A.I.) call it the new industrial world, we see develop here a new industrial world, that is no longer based on proletarisation, but to the contraty, it is based on de-proletarisation. Stigler goes on to call this extremely interesting because it reconstitutes the notion of individuation.
individuation and the contributive model
Individuation is the capacity that I have to transform myself by myself, meaning constantly questionning myself, to become what I am as Peindart used to say. Or Nietzsche. And this supposes knowledges. What allows an individual human to individuate herself, is the ability to develop knowledges. Knowledges of all kind, cooking, sports, they are knowledges. Simondon explains that when we have a knowledge, when we individuate, including, the knwoledge of education a child, in perspective of others. One's children, in fact, or family, where children are brought up, etc. This is a process of sharing, that produces co-individuation. I'm individuating myself while helping other to individuate them—selves.
We believe today that the contributive model can generalise itself, and we not only belive that it can, but that it must generalise itself absolutely. Because, firstly, in enterprises, the motivation level is pretty much at zero. People only work, because they are scared of unemployment. Even at very high levels, in top management, people are absolutely discuted of work. They do not believe in what they do and they only function on sanctions, positive or negative. Positive being a raise or a bonus, negative being joblessness but either way it is the sanction that motivates. La baguette. We know very well that this is not a sign of 'working'. Max Weber [...] explains that if capitalism has developped, it is firstly because it created motivation. This does not exist anymore. There is no more motivation in capitalism. Some cases exist of addiction, not motivation, for example Jerôme Carvial, the guy who destroyed La Société Générale in France, could only work on addiction, for very precise reasons, neurophichiatrists confirm that, when a person takes a risk on 4 billion euros, he gets a shot, a monumental high in the head. Golden boys like him, live in a constant exitation, an exitation that they can not go without anymore, they are addicts to their own exitation. But it's a system that works on impulse, which produces speculation, but not at all investment, because it does no longer work on motivation, it works on dependance.
So the producers have proletarised, have become proletarian, hackers, however are the first industrial producers that work on de-proletarisation, but it's also true on the side of the consumers. Because the model of free software is to get out of the logic of producer, consumer. It no longer works that way. The 20th century was based upon that opposition. The 19th is the opposition of capital and work. The 20th keeps that opposition, to which is added the one of production consumtion. The contributive model does not work on that basis, and what has made it necessary—when Stiegler says necessary, he means it is necessary to rebuild motivation from the producter point of view and on the consumer side— is the appearance of the numerical. It works by contributing. Of all. It would not work if there was not a participation from all. Let's point out the distinction between contribution and participation, you can participate without being a contributer, but the contributer is a participant. But the contributer does not only participate, he inscribes himself within a contributive economy. In fact, he inscibes himself in sevoural contributive economies, because there are all types of contributive economies.
A contributive economy is an economy inside which those who contribute individuate themselves while contributing.
The therapies of contribution
What is common in all the contribution models is that the people are curious, in the old sense of the word. Curious is the opposite of incurious, from where the word incurie comes from, —incurie translates to carelessness— in contemporary French, we call this "le je m'en fou t'isme." Or irresponsability. We're in a society that is living a huge crisis, it's quite preoccupating, because not many people are able to propose alternatives to this. But it is a society of incurie, and everybody sees this now, five years ago, this was not an easy claim to make, but now, everybody agrees on this. The reason for this is that there is a system that renders us cretins. Is it the internet that is making us stupid, as Nicolas Schaar claims, Stiegler says no, although he does think that internet is making us stupid also, it can, at the very least, make us stupid. What A.I. supports is that the economy of contribution is a therapy, it is therapeutic. A therapeutic ensemble to be precise, because they are sevoural economies. These theraputics take care of the pharmacon that is the numerical. [... ]The numerical is something that can develop a police society, which is probaly what Cameron dreams of in the UK, the most camera suveilled state. Cameron is probaly imagining how good it would be to connect all these cameras together into a web system managed by intelligence services. Which is an totally real possiblity, in fact at A.I. we say that it is either this or an economy of contribution, between the two there is nothing. We can be totally convinced that the secret services worldwide are thinking a lot about the events that happened in Tunisia, and how to avoid that in the future. So there is worry to be had when it comes to police or military strategies that want to control internets. Nevertheless the internet relies fundametnally on a generalised participation of internet users, and that is the entirely new element, the new industrial world is the one in which, it does not work if there is not a generalised participation.
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