When Mood Music
2012-02-29 10:29:00 contemplative Swordfishtrombone – Tom Waits

Popping back into the blogosphere to report a couple of conversations (via the whole-class online forum) with my web-enabled business lecturer:


I’m intrigued by a thought about ‘democratisation’ as it applies to ‘new media’, where now anyone can do it. Is this an expression of the old punk anarchy ethic of not trusting leaders, authority etc, and is there more than a hint of ‘Here’s three chords. Now go and form a band!’? That is, is it about personal freedom? Or is it all about turning rebellion into money? (For those of you who don’t remember the late 70s, go here then scroll down to ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’.) Despite the detour down memory lane, I’m genuinely interested in your opinions on this.;

I have a feeling both ideas came out of situationism (about which I know nothing). Anyway, I think Malcolm Maclaren and others made a bit of money out of the whole punk thing, so the concepts aren’t that far apart even at the moneymaking level.

More broadly – it also demonstrates that this ‘democratisation’ is about opening up the process to new entrants, not about everyone creating content: how many people actually started a punk band? (And how many punk bands made number 1, i.e. genuine mass popularity?). Or thinking about new media: how many actually create new content for YouTube etc?

While looking in wikipedia for situationism, I came across situationist ethics – and hence utilitarianism. It seems I am very close to being a negative preference utilitarian:

  1. ‘…the ultimate aim of negative utilitarianism would be to engender the quickest and least painful method of killing the entirety of humanity, as this ultimately would effectively minimize suffering.’
    ;BUT I’d say that I have no right to take life for this reason because I am not omniscient!
  2. ‘Negative preference utilitarianism avoids the problem of moral killing, but still demands a justification for the creation of new lives.’

Always good to find another pigeon-hole!

Just as well I’m only teaching web-enabled business 🙂

Online at stupid o’clock because I woke realising how to impose a narrative on my literature review and wanted to note it down before I forgot it.

Now looking at today’s reading materials – followed a link cos curious…. See comment in this:

‘Part of the issue with process vs. principles is that the cultural tradition we inherited from the British wants the legal system to be predictable. Strict adherence to process is part of making things more predictable, but this is opposed to making the system more just, because the process tends to limit the freedom of judges and juries to decide each case on its own rather than simply assigning it to one of a limited set of categories and then applying the rules for that category.

The prison population is also increased by the amazing amount of required process associated with capital punishment — automatic appeals, years spent on death row while appeals are considered, etc. Before all this came in, you could be sentenced to death and executed in comparatively short order, so the death row population was much smaller at any given time. I’m not saying it was better that way, but it’s a factor in considering prison populations.’

reminiscent of what you said about origins of English law

Yup. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, it’s worth reading up on Roman Law. If you’re also interested in history, a good place to start would be the introduction to Penguin edition of Justinian’s Digest of Roman Law. Quite far from e-commerce though…

A few years ago I bought a 2nd-hand copy of Justinian: I have some interest in the differences between principate and empire. If I get a few months to spare, I’ll read the set of ‘decline and fall’ gracing my bookshelf.

Fascinating stuff, this capitalism!


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