Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Militarization of Intellectual Capital in Spectaclist Economics

I'm in day two of a gnarly cold and am just laying in bed. Thanks to a good friend I have a movie to watch and thanks to Hulu I watched a great documentary, RiP! A Remix Manifesto.

Also, the Pentagon released it's budget for the next year and its Black Ops budget is around $56 billion. You can read a little about that here. Also, check out Trevor Paglen's books. Paglen was recently here in Atlanta for a talk sponsored by ART PAPERS (where I am interning).

While a documentary about copyright vs. copy left and this black budget may seem unrelated, I think that if you watch RiP you'll see that they're not so far removed at all.

As one former Clinton Administration discusses it, the U.S. in the 80s and 90s made a serious movement away from domestic manufacturing initiatives and changed its focus to developing intellectual capital in the country. The thinking was that the U.S. would outsource all of these manufacturing jobs overseas (where they'd be made cheaper - a boon to the owners of manufacturing interests, but a bane to the working poor of the U.S.), and with this movement overseas the U.S. work force would be reeducated so as to create things abstractly. For this to work, the developing nations where these manufacturing jobs went would have to adopt intellectual property rights like what the U.S. has today.

This black budget is primarily accounting for the most advanced research (intellectual capital) in the world; although it also is accounting for the cost of torturing suspected people that the U.S. has kidnapped (such as Omar Deghayes) as well. The militarization of intellectual capital is becoming a reality (check it out) and I suspect it is a symptom of a structural change that is the result of that shift from capitalism the way Marx described it to spectaclism today.

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