lundi 29 août 2011

Netocratic Society.

Walter Benjamin, Early Inventory of Walter Benjamin's Archive, s.d.

When singularities that have sprung up from each other end up in a confined space, they are bound to meet sooner or later. The patterns that are then conjured up are an exact parallel to the system of contacts that arises in the development of a network. This is where the eternalistic world view meets reality in netocratic society. The world is perceived as a single organic network, the all encompassing net, where the clusters of genes and memes that arise are the nodes of the network. If eternalists are the interpreters of this reality, then the actors who appear at the nodes, the entrepreneurs, are another category of netocrats: the nexialists (after Latin nexus, "a binding together"). The path to these nexialists, or the connection between them, is managed by the third and most powerful of the netocratic categories: the curators. It is the curators who point the way for the nexialists while their mutual world view is constructed by the philosophers of the netocratic society, the analytical eternalists. In the interaction of these three roles, netocratic society is created. If we make a general comparison with capitalism's power hierarchies, we could say that the curator replaces the politician, the nexialist replaces the entrepreneur, and the eternalist replaces the academic in netocratic society.


One example of a typical netocratic dilemma is the recurrent choice between exploitation and imploitation. Suppose two netocrats meet on a far-off island with picturesque ruins and beautiful beaches, but with no tourist industry at all. This is a typical netocratic destination, a perfect place for someone who practises tourism in the form of imploitative consumption. When the two netocrats are sitting on their sunloungers, sipping cold drinks at sunset, they are faced with the question of whether they should keep the island a secret and only tell their closest friends of its existence, or build hotels and an airport and then market the island as a destination for all tourists of the world: put simply, should they improve it and then sell it to the highest bidder?

If they choose to keep the island secret, they will be following an imploitative strategy; if they choose to make profit from their discovery, they will be following the opposite, exploitative strategy. The difference between netocrats and classical capitalists is that the netocrats have these two options. Knowledge of the island has such a high value to the netocrats, and profit such a relatively low one, that exclusivity could well weigh heavier than economic profit. For the capitalist their is no choice. For them the accumulation of capital is the central project in life, a project compared to which everything else is subordinate. But netocrats do not share this point of view. Conscious of the fact that their new-found paradise would lose its unique aura if it was exploited, netocrats can choose, thanks to their independence from and lack of interest in capital, to imploit the island instead: to keep it secret and reserve it for the pleasure of themselves and their netocratic colleagues.

Alexander Bard & Jan Söderqvist, translated by Neil Smith, Netocracy, The New Power Elite and Life after Capitalism,  Pearson Education, 2002, p.113-115.

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