Wednesday, September 8, 2010

U N T I T L E D (Reading Response 1)

The history of how American Telegraph & Telephone came to monopolize the market of communications in the United States is a very good metaphor, for the entire function of a capitalist regime. What Lessig describes was a commitment to an idea, a genuine feeling of responsibility to the company, as well as the general advancement of technology (as the AT&T employees felt it), is (as I see it) the key element in the most fundamental problems of contemporary society. And that commitment is not harmful in itself, but becomes lethal when considering the multiplicity of interests and how the well-being of one company might assume, not only disregarding the interests of other groups, but most importantly, becoming an obstacle in the advancement, or even survival of those other groups and ideologies.
A capitalist system automatically supposes that for one's interests and profits to advance, another's profits and interests must retreat. If everyone is worth the same, no one is worth anything. Capitalism naturally generates inequality. So theoretically capitalism creates a paradox: although competition seems vital, there comes a point where competition must be monopolized by the most "fit" competitor.
What is simply amazing about the entire function of corporate capitalism, is how through an infrastructure something can appear to be so institutional, so solid or established, and we easily forget that behind all of it, there are merely everyday people taking really simple and plain decisions, naturally in terms of their personal interests, which decisions slowly accumulate to create a very intricate system, that is so impermeable because of its anonymity.
About the end-to-end argument and the general architecture of the Internet, there is again a basic idea that may frame the problem. As Lessig mentions, not only should we perceive the particular architecture of the internet today as one choice out of numerable methods that we could have come up with, but also question what the top purposes where that this architecture was trying to serve. (The same question should be posed in terms of capitalism and the architecture of our economo-political system.)

The structure of society is utterly dependent upon our hierarchy of values and vice versa. So in order to introduce innovation, as with the Internet, we need to examine and scrutinize first our personal values and then ideals that we must cherish in order to survive in this system. In other words, as with an end-to-end network the server computers determine the kind and amount of freedom for innovation is given to the entire network, in real life, the norms and ethics of a political/economical/social system are how freedom is defined within that system.

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