Om 99 i dagens DN

Idag publicerar DN en text om IT-bubblan som kulturrevolution, och jag pratar lite om min syn på bubblan. Det kan vara på sin plats att citera essän i Abstract Hacktivism, för att klarifiera min ståndpunkt.

För det första: Vad är det jag hävdar i essän ”After counterculture”? Jo:

This essay has made two propositions: first, that key moulders of opinion in business as well as in arts and political activism seem to be adopting a worldview that construes the economy as a computer; second, that the new media boom of the late 1990s seem [sic] to have propagated the spread of this worldview. (sid 99)

Försvarar jag bubbelekonomin? Nej, inte riktigt, eftersom det konstateras att

there was a massive ”˜overinvestment”™ in new media technologies during the late 1990s. However, this overinvestment cannot be dismissed as resulting from the actions of a few incompetent individuals. On the contrary, this overinvestment seems to be a systemic property of contemporary economies. […] the peculiar trait of the new media boom was the fact that it financed the speading of a new worldview.

”New worldview” – vad är det för trams? Hmm, här måste jag bli lite teoretisk, och hänvisa till Michel Serres:

Serres argues that as new types of machines enter the social world, they may end up changing our ways of seeing the world. The logic of the motor did not only appear in the contraptions studied by engineers and natural scientists: it also shaped the theories of modern social scientists, philosophers and artists. […] Indeed, Serres”™ general point was that there is a mutual interchange between the world of things (science and technology) to the world of humans (humanities; culture). (sid 21)

Är inte detta teknikdeterminism? Nej, eftersom vi måste

bear in mind that the general diagrams – the ”˜abstract machines”™ – that underpin both technical contraptions and theories in human minds exist autonomously from their actualisations. In other words, a certain diagram can just as well exist in novels or plays before it is actualised in a technical contraption. In such a case, the process will be the reverse of the steam engine case – it may well be a century before a literary trend is actualised in technologies.

Tillbaka till bubblan; varför är detta intressant? Well,

from this perspective, Western market economies are not only special in the ways that they divert huge resources to new sources of wealth-generation – it also has a propensity to divert money and labour to new modes of thought. Or, as in the case of the boom, it amassed huge resources to produce a cultural shift. In this way, the economic system – including scheming investment bankers and media-spinning public affairs departments – can be viewed as a thinking, conscious, sentient device. Or, as Nigel Thrift describes it, during the new media boom, the economic system had a ”˜knowing”™ character – endogeneously coming up with stories to describe itself. (sid 99-100)

Går det då verkligen att säga att denna kulturella revolution – detta nya sätt att se på världen – kommer att ses som lika signifikant som 68?

Hmm, vi får se, men jag tror det. Kring 2050 kommer samtidshistoriker gissningsvis hävda att populäriseringen av datortänket är minst lika avgörande som populäriseringen av counterculture-tänket. (Och än mer sannolikt kommer de att lyfta fram något ännu mer avgörande intellektuellt skifte – kanske i anslutning till hur vi tänker maskiner och energi?)