Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Paying attention is where capitalism lost

To me capitalism is another one of those words where people use it a lot without being careful with its definition, where many think of large scale capitalism, like with massive corporations but is broader than that and give my own explanation. However there IS an area where I think big scale capitalism clearly lost, which is in directing attention as the web took over.

Information distribution in the past on a large scale involved a lot of capital, like for a major newspaper or a television station. It STILL requires large scale capital in those areas, yet here I am on a blog, with the potential to talk to people all over the globe, without needing all that.

And I think we're finally seeing now how far that can go. Where for instance social media can empower all kinds of people to reach lots of others, where also in politics can see that doesn't have to be for the good of the people, as some demagogue can destabilize society too.

The new tools of information distribution do not care, but then again I don't think the big capitalist who wielded so much control in the past over distribution of information cared either. But their monetary motivation is not shared by the web.

What's fascinating to me is that a lot of people got things wrong early about how easier information distribution might work, assuming it would turn all humans into thieves who would quit paying for information they could take! Which to me was so wacky. It also I think betrayed a dismal opinion of the human species.

Those who think thievery is a typical human behavior of most probably say more about themselves than their fellow humans, am sure.

It can still take money to distribute information, yes. But potentially in our times information distribution often can be done with little to not cost to the producer.

The web does cost money but who pays for the web is remarkably not discussed much in our times.

Today the reality of information distribution is a spectrum, where yes, there is still immense capital involved, say, in a major studio release, but also you can have lightweight players with limited capital who can compete equally and even crush such competition.

And fans do still pay to support those who provide content they love--if you give them a way.

So yeah, big capitalism lost when it comes to paying attention. Many in our times can go for quite some time ignoring much that is still pushed at them through major capitalist systems. And capitalism in general also lost as conceivably a person could go to the library and get on free computers and change the world with their creative efforts.

Seems worth mentioning to me. And there is an irony in a world where lots of people can move things that STILL at least in my country people seem stuck with chasing after those with wealth first. Where I guess there is social inertia involved.

However am confident that in time more and more people will learn to look best when it comes to their attention as society learns better.

James Harris
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