[Marxism] Netflix as creative destruction

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Sun Aug 8 11:25:00 MDT 2010


I appreciate Louis' posting of this NYT article on the list. I would be more
interested, however, in any comments ON the article and the subject.

IMO, this article objectively lays out the problem of technology under the
capitalist mode of production and shows how it can negatively effect the
working class. What does not seem to be detailed is the 'social' effect
beyond that. The huge build up of employment in video stores has a parallel
with independent book stores as book selling became highly commercialized in
the 1980s, with the initial advent of the franchising of stores like
Marlboro Books, Daltons, etc. They gave way to the 'super stores' like B&N.
Now the Internet is doing to physical stores what Netflix has done to
Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.

What keeps independent book stores open are rare, hard to find, un-internet
listed books. What keeps the remaining 'neighborhood' video stores open is
pornography, which accounts usually for about 50% of their business or more.
Porn is not distributed by Netflix, that I'm  aware of and of course was not
sold in Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.

But the social effect is something else indeed. The internet has offered the
capitalist system a way of atomizing people. It is the ability to heighten
the fake ideology of the cult of the individual that has been going on since
around the time of end of WWII with the start of the suburbanization of the
housing for a privileged layer of the working class, the building of
interstate highways, the development, massively, of the carCULTure and so
on. And I'm personally not immune to this trend, nor  probably, are most of
those on this list. I order books via abebooks.com and amazon.com. I live in
the suburbs, have a long commute and our 3 member family has 3 vehicles.
Now, Amazon announced it is selling far more ebooks than paper ones, further
enforcing this alienation and individual cultism...can't 'lend' an e-book,
at least not yet.

But the atomization the working class is something that is quite scary in
the sort of long term perspective. It reinforces, IMO, alienation from ones
class in a large and profound way.

David



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