Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet

Romantic techno-discourse in 2011

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 I could talk about many things here — I hope to get to the chapter’s take on the cyberlaw literature in one of these posts — but I found myself wondering if there are any techno-romantic things going on in the headlines right now. There’s a new tablet coming out — Notion Ink’s Adam: “all about realising dreams” — that’s generated a lovely viral campaign, getting almost as much attention on wordpress as Oprah. And there’s a case to be made that Julian Assange has a distinctly Byronic understanding of himself (and not just because he appears to be a rake). But I think the best illustration is the success of Richard Florida, who by some accounts has become the house intellectual of the current Conservative government in Britain (which is busy gutting the British welfare state, especially its university system).

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Florida’s work on the creative class has been criticized for its abuse of data, its naive assumptions, and so forth. But at some point, you have to explain, not what’s wrong with someone’s ideas, but why they remain influential nonetheless. Move beyond ideological critique to an explanation of the functioning of discourses in real life. And I suspect that the appeal of Florida is romantic, perhaps even distinctly Emersonian: the origins of useful ideas, of wealth, are in non-conformity, in daring individuals breaking free. No need to bother with the social structure, with history, etc. That rhetoric appears too often in the last half-century, with too much impact, to simply be dismissed as wrong. That’s part of the point of this chapter on open source.

Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/neteffect/2010/12/13/hello-world/