Tuesday, September 23, 2008

California Ideology Precis

The argument that Barbrook and Cameron are making is against the California Ideology.  They do not believe it is the best or only option for technological advancement for several claims:  it cuts the nation state relationship out of the picture, devalues social and emotional ties to humanity, lies with past reflections of slavery or notions of the slave trade, and also that the ideology has several ambiguities and contradictions

They appear to be pitching their piece to a global audience, because since the model has not been challenged successfully, it has the potential to be adopted globally.   

Their primary argument,  is with the openness and structure of the model.  They are claiming that it depends too much on the triumph of the hi-tech free market, and that the Ideology is only made possible through a "universal belief in technological determinism."  From what I gathered, Barbrook claims this model cuts the cord between the government and the people.  They use examples of infrastructure dependencies on the government from the past, basically claiming that for people to think this is all possible via open technology, as opposed to governmentally supported, is "to chain humanity to the rocks of economic and technological fatalism." That seems a bit dramatic and far fetched to me.  Claiming that "the good life" is only possible via governmental assistance...

Barbrook and Cameron draw comparisons between the California model and slavery and that is where I really got lost.  "Masters and Slaves" came off as being what was at stake and what we had to lose-claiming the ideology would create and ever more widening of social divisions.  Suddenly in their text they were discussing racist republicans and yuppies, against their "impoverished neighbors" and I wasn't very clear on how poor people or poorer areas would be cut out of the California Ideology scenario, because they did not discuss or disclose the actual effects or terms.  I believe it has something to do with the "virtual class" and this, I was also puzzled by.   This article made them seem quite negative, and my question is, aren't these the people who know what they're doing?  I don't necessarily see how they are a threat.   From my understanding of the reading, these were the people who were trying to support the risk taking entrepreneurs and oppose the governments intervention-but then they say that government interventions rebound on those "who are foolish enough to defy the primary laws of nature"?  I don't get it.  I was unclear on their argument against these people.  Are they taking jobs away from others?  Is there discrimination doing on?  The text did not fully explain the conflict here.   

I read the article several times and from my perspective, their argument is quite weak.  I don't think they gave enough pertinent background information or made clear the actual specifications of what they were fighting against.  There was a broad arguments against the California Ideology, but it was not set up in a way in which it was accessible to the reader.  Instead, I found myself flipping back and forth attempting to come to a consensus on what they were actually in favor of, and against.  

They do not propose an alternate model and don't specifically detail the points of the ideology that don't work, other than ranting about past jargon.  At several points in the reading, Barbrook references the Ideology as a place where everyone can express themselves freely, yet he never specifies how that would not happen via his argument.   


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