6 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2020
    1. Many years later, the iPad was good at the simple media consumption convenience part of the idea, but fell quite flat in many ways with regard to the two larger ideas of (a) user authoring of meta-media, and (b) an environment to help children learn powerful ideas by making and sharing them. The latter was not in Apple’s goals at all: users (even children) were forbidden to make actively programmable things on the iPad and share them on the Internetthere was no stylus for drawing with the machine, and years later when one finally was added they omitted a place to store it (!) — and even still they did not include proximity sensing (compare with the Wacom Cintiq).fluent typing was not addressed in the design (we knew in 1968 that even with a touch-screen, a physical keyboard would almost certainly be needed). It is somewhat bizarre (even in this bizarre world) that Microsoft took more into account in its physical designs for the Surface …most importantly, Apple made no effort to help children by funding curriculum development, how to help them learn, etc. Steve’s earlier “Wheels for the Mind” ideal was long gone: buried in simple consumerism.So: don’t confuse the Dynabook idea with the physical resemblance to the iPad. The latter has thousands of times the capacity of what I had in mind, but its conception is thousands of times more meager.

      most importantly, Apple made no effort to help children by funding curriculum development, how to help them learn, etc. Steve’s earlier “Wheels for the Mind” ideal was long gone: buried in simple consumerism.

      It's brutal and true.

  2. Jan 2020
    1. no difference

      The nature of the wants that commodities satisfy makes no difference. This is perhaps somewhat surprising to readers, given the extent to which everyday critiques of capitalist society often center around the role that consumerism plays and the subjective effects that this produces, namely, the way that consumer society creates all sorts of desires (as well as the obverse--many will defend capitalism on the grounds that it is able to satisfy our inordinate appetite for novelty by producing an enormous proliferation of desirable commodities). Yet, for Marx, the nature of these desires "makes no difference."

      It is worth pointing out that the critique of the appetites that consumer society spawns is by no means new (a rather early moment in the history of consumer society). We find it already on display in Book II of Plato's Republic. In looking to shift the terrain of the analysis of justice from the individualistic, social contractualist theory of justice elaborated by Glaucon, Socrates founds a 'city' based on the idea that no one is self-sufficient, that human beings have much need of one another, and that the various crafts--farming, weaving cloth, etc.--fare best when each person specializes in that craft to which they are most suited by nature. After sketching out a kind of idyllic, pastoral community based on the principle of working together to satisfy our natural appetites, Socrates aristocratic companion Glaucon objects, describing this city as a 'city fit for pigs'. At this point, Socrates conjures what he calls the 'luxurious city', at which point a whole host of social ills are unleashed in order to satisfy Glaucon's desire for the luxuries to which he is accustomed. Currency and trade are introduced, along with a more complex division of labor (and wage labor!), and quite quickly, war. On the basis of the principle of 'one person, one craft', Socrates argues that making war is itself a craft that requires specialization (and thus a professional army).

      For Plato, this represents the beginning of class society, as the profession military becomes a class distinct from the class of producers and merchants.

      Plato thus anticipates a version of a view that becomes one of the key theses of the Marxist theory of the state, namely, the idea that the state exists only in societies that have become "entangled in an insoluble contradiction within itself" and which are "cleft into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel," (Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State). The state emerges as "a power apparently standing above society...whose purpose is to moderate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of 'order'" Engels writes, "this power arising out of society, but placing itself above it, and increasingly separating itself from it, is the state." Lenin cites this passage in the first pages of State and Revolution in order to critique the 'bourgeois' view that the state exists in order to reconcile class interests. In Lenin's reading of Marx, the state exists as "an organ of classs domination, an organ of oppression of one class by another," a view articulated in The Communist Manifesto, (cf. V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution in V.I.Lenin: Collected Works, Vol. 25, pp. 385-497).

      Marx cites this same passage from Republic in a long footnote to his discussion of the Division of Labor and Manufacture on pp. 487-488, which also happens to be the sole place in Capital where Marx cites Plato.

      The fact that Marx here expresses indifference to the particular appetites that commodities satisfy is thus intriguing and ambiguous. Given that this question both clearly animates Plato's discussion of the origin of class society in Republic and, additionally serves as an alternative to the social contractarian view of justice that descends from Glaucon through Hobbes and the 18th century 'Robinsonades', this seemingly technical point also touches upon questions concerning Marx's engagement with both classical and modern political theory.

      If for Plato, the unruly appetites represent the seed of which class-divided society is the fruit, Marx's dismissal of the question of the nature of the appetites that are satisfied by commodities points to exchange-value and the social forms that it unleashes as being key dimensions of the particular form that class-antagonism takes in capitalist society.

  3. Dec 2017
    1. Consumption can be good, she says. "I don't want to be callous to the people who really do need more stuff". But consumerism is always bad, adding little to our wellbeing as well as being disastrous for the planet. "[It's] a particular strand of overconsumption, where we purchase things, not to fulfil our basic needs, but to fill some voids about our lives and make social statements about ourselves,"
  4. Jul 2017
    1. Consumerism: t

      The socially-supported ideologies that reproduce the behavior of consuming the goods produced in society. The re-investment of funds into companies into the productive process. A means of exploitation through overcharging for goods for profit. Influences social structures other than the marketplace. Functions to justify participation in capitalist structures and ensures demand for goods so companies can continue producing and profiting.

  5. Oct 2015
    1. American urban expansion partially steadied the global economy, as the us ran huge trade deficits with the rest of the world, borrowing around $2 billion a day to fuel its insatiable consumerism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      America's debt is much higher than $2 billion today.. somewhere in the trillions.. is our hunger being fulfilled worth the debt its costing us?

  6. Jun 2015
    1. He’s simply less ambitious about obtaining them and more circumspect about signaling his desire for consumer goods: a yuppie in slacker’s thrift-store clothing.