Andrew made a Tumblr for his forthcoming thesis. Sometimes he will get off topic though.
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 ..our business plan didn’t involve us in any way - it was just a description of other people making and selling products. (via xkcd: Crowdsourcing)


 ..our business plan didn’t involve us in any way - it was just a description of other people making and selling products. (via xkcd: Crowdsourcing)

Source :
Contrary to a commonly held view of crowdsourcing as a transfer of low-skill work to low cost locations, our analysis shows that more than half of all the crowdsourcing workers live in North America and Europe and workers are generally very well educated. Almost half have bachelor degree and only 5% are truly low skill workers with only an elementary education.

Work Without Jobs: A Trend For The Educated Elite →

The rapid shift to non-employment should concern us for a number of reasons. Routine employment data, which underpins economic optimism or pessimism, is unlikely to reflect the full range of opportunity that the economy is creating as we move away from jobs as a primary form of engagement with work. Add to that the fact that emerging types of work tend towards the extremes. They can be entrepreneurial, creative and full of opportunity but they can also be very low paid.

A troubling development is the drift to highly educated, low paid labor. That combination seems to be characteristic of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing has the potential to enable a new elasticity in the use of labor but it also has the capacity to drive income through the floor.

The awareness that we live in a system or, better, that our lives and livelihoods are articulated through systemic forces, does not need to lead us to despair. Knowledge of these forces does not make us weaker; on the contrary, it makes us stronger, because the system reveals its Achilles heel by showing what it must do in order to survive: it must promote enclosures and it must pit producers, both waged and unwaged, against each other, thus creating the appearance of abundance, but instead reproducing scarcity.
Massimo De Angelis. The Beginning of History. (2007, p. 225-226, emphasis in original).
As a matter of fact, capitalist economy is not and cannot be stationary. Nor is it merely expanding in a steady manner. It is incessantly being revolutionized from within by new enterprise, i.e., by the intrusion of new commodities or new methods of production or new commercial opportunities into the industrial structure as it exists at any moment. Any existing structures and all the conditions of doing business are always in a process of change. Every situation is being upset before it has had time to work itself out. Economic progress, in capitalist society, means turmoil.

Schumpeter, in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942, p. 31-32, emphasis included).

If I understand correctly, a good way to become a hugely influential economist is to plagiarize Marx while you repudiate Marx.

…spec work devalues the communication design profession. It reduces communication design to a commodity, rather than to a specialized service.


Commodities are here understood in their simplest sense, as undifferentiated goods such as wheat or oil, which are exchanged in a market according to supply and demand, such that their prices are generally determined without the consideration of qualitative differences in their production, e.g. wheat is wheat, no matter where or by what methods it is grown and harvested, and oil is oil, no matter where or by what methods it is extracted and refined; the key term in this definition of a commodity is ‘undifferentiated good,’ which is contrasted against the definition of communication design as ‘a specialized service.’ The seeming triviality of commodities, famously remarked upon by Marx, allows its use in this pejorative sense, as a sphere of production somehow less ‘valuable’ than that of communication design services.

It is surprisingly difficult to engage with this commonsensical understanding of commodities!

Marx is not only selling well, he has also been praised most recently by German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück, who recently told the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, ‘Certain parts of Marx’s thinking are really not so bad.’
To confront these issues, we, along with many others, have proposed possible initial steps, such as establishing a guaranteed income, the right to global citizenship, and a process of the democratic reappropriation of the common. But we are under no illusion that we have all the answers. Instead we are encouraged by the fact that we are not alone asking the questions. We are confident, in fact, that those who are dissatisfied with the life offered by our contemporary neoliberal society, indignant about its injustices, rebellious against its powers of command and exploitation, and yearning for an alternative democratic form of life based on the common wealth we share – they, by posing these questions and pursuing their desires, will invent new solutions we cannot yet even imagine. Those are some of our best wishes for 2012.
Hardt and Negri, What to expect in 2012