Summary: The hierarchical and exploitative structure of the feudal era seems to have reappeared today on the Internet of the digital era. Regardless of any constitution and workers’ statute, neither politics nor trade unions are intervening. It is accepted that globalisation rhymes with ‘glebalisation’
Original author and publication date: Glauco Benigni – August 5, 2020
Fururizonte Editor’s Note: It is an interesting idea (not really new, but very interesting) to think we are entering a new era, a techno-feudal era.
From the article:
One day, from a fixed or mobile location, Mrs. X or Mr. Y open an account on YouTube, Facebook or some other digital community and begin ‘uploading content’ for free. (There are over 2 billion accounts worldwide, of which more than 30 percent are ‘truly active’). The cold remote server of the social network welcomes the new contents in the infinite silence of its terabytes and stores them in its memories, just as the feudal lord piled up the products of the anonymous work of serfs in his warehouses, after reaching him through the mediation of vassals. In the same way that the ‘dominus’ (master) of the past considered the inhabitants of his territory to be ‘subjects-possessed’, today the new ‘dominus’ considers the new digital worker a ‘prosumer’, that is: ‘producer-user’.
As such, the worker is imprisoned in its ‘terms and conditions of use’ and is led to sign a series of ‘I accept/I agree’ in progress, under penalty of exclusion; his/her copyright is expropriated in the name of an ambiguous ‘fair use’, which excludes commercial use among the members of the Community, but which instead authorises the ‘dominus’ to insert advertising spaces; it begins to monitor the prosumer’s activities and (above all) collect his/her data. Socio-personal data and those relating to choices, tastes and privileged relationships are supplied to the research centres of the International Advertising Association (multinational advertising cartel operating since 1938); those related to political consensus or dissent are passed to the US secret services, in compliance with the Patriot Act desired by Bush Jr. Meanwhile, the ‘dominus’ keeps for itself the information (of quantity) provided by the counter.
The counter (this unknown) is one of the most powerful tools available to the ‘dominus’ of the modern era. Thanks to it, the ‘dominus’ operates a continuous ‘census’ on its territory: it remotely ‘counts’, at very high speed, every person present in the different roles: number of accounts, readers or spectators, subscribed to channels or to different pages, likes, number of comments and shares, time spent and attention of viewers, frequency of publications, etc. The tool, inaccessible from the outside, allows it to exalt the success of its prosumers, or minimise it through the subtle practice of ‘shadow banning’, thanks to which the active contacts of prosumers are limited without their being aware of it. The counter is obviously credited as the ‘highest authoritative source’, nobody would ever think of contesting it and it therefore also allows measurement of the profits due to prosumers and administratively manage the digital feudatory season.
The counter updates the owners of the social network: “There is a prosumer on the rise! He/she has hundreds of thousands of subscribers, millions of likes. He/she is an excellent promotional medium. Start inserting advertising”. The prosumer sees that advertisements on their Facebook page and/or in their video clips or blog start appearing. He/she dreams of the miracle of recognising their own ‘digital garden’ which he/she naively believes to ‘own’. But it’s not a miracle: it’s the Net! It is the net that has ‘caught’ them.
In reality, the prosumer does not have what he/she considers their ‘digital garden’; he/she is only allowed to work on it for free, possibly ask for ‘donations’ from peers and host commercial promotions, as long as its contents do not disturb the advertisers or the ‘dominus’ itself, which at that point suspends or closes the account unilaterally and sometimes without notice.
Maybe you have never thought about it but … every time we access the Internet from a PC, tablet or smart phone, we are also WORKING for some more or less occult entity: manufacturers of digital devices, producers of software and applications, telephone companies, advertising companies and companies promoted by them, secret services, press offices and political research units, and so on.
Very cleverly, with effective and invisible tools, no longer with ‘constricting’ actions but rather thanks to seduction, a number of human beings have taken over the creativity, talent reduced to a commodity, of a couple of billion people on Planet Earth. Perhaps blue-blooded extra-terrestrials, but in any case ‘sociopaths’ or simply liberal capitalists without any empathy towards the exploited, they group themselves into company boards of directors with catchy and well-promoted acronyms; and after attracting their ‘users’ with false promises of freedom, they have expropriated our ability to produce content and our ‘digital bodies’ made up of ‘big data’ that concern us in the most intimate details.
So today they ‘keep us at to the millstone’: they use us, they amass us from an early age in front of the screens of PCs and smart phones, they organise us in communities of all kinds and nature, they sell us and buy us as ‘audience’ in a market deliberately devoid of rules, they pit us against each other or against their antagonists during their private wars, and they attribute the responsibility of fake news when certain truths become too uncomfortable for the realisation of their hegemonic and mass control projects.
One example: because of the pandemic, it is fashionable to censor all information and opinions that are contrary to the guidelines provided by the ‘pharmacocracy’.