Submitted by GustavLandauer on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 5:16pm
There's a lot of discussion among anarchist circles about technology, if it's good, if it's bad, if it's neither, if it's both, if it's going to eat you, if it's going to bake you a cake. I just wanted to toss out this quote discussing open source technology and the fairly profound implications embedded in it.
"One important direction in which the open source experiment points is toward moving beyond the discussion of transaction as a key determinant of institutional design. . . . The elegant analytics of transaction cost economics do very interesting work in explaining how divisions of labor evolve through outsourcing of particular functions (the decision to buy rather than make something). But the open source process adds another element. The notion of open-sourcing as a strategic organizational decision can be seen as an efficiency choice around distributed innovation, just as outsourcing was an efficiency choice around transactions costs. . . . As information about
Submitted by GustavLandauer on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 12:02am
Freedom only takes on meaning when it is a shared freedom, when it is the freedom to encounter another being as a being instead of a thing to be used and manipulated, or even simply imagined according to our own will or analysis.
This is not the same as simple liberty to do what we wish, though the one does condition the possibility of the other. No, this is experiencing a sort of ontological freedom. Even when we are ourselves unconstrained, when we act so as to oppress another being, or when we encapsulate that other being in a preconceived and static image or impression, we remain a prisoner of systemic determination. Our encounter with the world remains scripted, merely acting out a mechanical part already formed by biases, assumptions, and routine. Or even worse, we simply implement the mandates of power structures in society, structures over which we have little control and little certain understanding.
This is a short, broad historical perspective from the magnificent labor historian Jeremy Brecher. They also intend the reader to use it as an educational handout, so feel free to print it up and give it out to folks. I'm probably going to put some out in the store next week.
"In the case of Austin, State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez passed a tremendous tool to help the city address the East Austin gentrification problem. Known as the Homestead Preservation District legislation it grants powers to the city to enact land banks, dedicate tax increment finance district funds for affordable housing and provides several other tools. Yet three years after passage the city has yet to use any of the tools Rodriguez’ legislation provides. It makes you wonder whether city hall will ever act to deal with a problem that has now moved squarely into the public view."
Inclusionary zoning is one of the most powerful tools for any community seeking to moderate the impact of gentrification. It means, simply enough, that a city or county requires a given share of new housing to be priced affordably for working class people with low to moderate incomes. The "share" of affordable housing ranges from 10%-30%.
Inclusionary zoning is useful because it creates large pools of reasonably priced housing units spread throughout a city instead of bottling up zones and districts. Unfortunately, the state banned the practice outside of districts given historical designation. It might also be available in some form for rental property.
Submitted by GustavLandauer on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 12:09am
This is just precious. Time Warner Cable is testing out a per gigabyte pricing system in Beaumont, Texas. Instead of unlimited bandwidth, they're going to introduce pricing plans capping a $30/month internet service at 5 gigs total. For $56, you get 40 gigs total.
For some perspective, 40 gigs costs Time Warner $3/month at most. They want to charge $56 for it. Bit of a jump don't you think?
This is the problem with poorly regulated oligopolies. By the way, this is a pretty good example of corporate business seeking huge profits by REDUCING the opportunities for users. I think folks debating abstract economic theory far too often ignore these fairly common instances where big business generates profits by fabricating scarcity. I think this is more or less monopoly rent seeking?
Submitted by GustavLandauer on Mon, 05/26/2008 - 11:26pm
Work as we now have it is necessarily a mechanical process. Either we are forced to perform a limited set of routine tasks for years on end; or we are forced to severly limit our attention. We must orient our minds and experiences towards a given set of conditions generally guided by some form or other of increasing profits, sales, clients, winning arguments, creating and fixing technical problems of a heavily circumscribed nature.
Work as we have it functions to fundamentally move people towards mechanistic, mechanical living. We act as machines, repeating tasks or limiting scope. Yet what makes humanity human is precisely the natural curiosity that leads us outside of our given situations and beyond limits of attention, experience and habit.