Friday, January 25, 2002

To make some headway in answering Mike's question, it might be useful to try to dislodge, however minutely, the polarity "sincere conversation vs. hard-nosed biz profiteers" - let's take for a moment Clay Shirkys' perspective here as emblematic of the logic of corporate existence. Assume that we are not dealing with people, but with mathematical and economic mechanisms that have no way of understanding that anything else matters, really, other than the lifeblood of their revenue streams. (I take Clay's point to be, this is how they operate, so get used to it.) The question becomes not whether these entities, these things - using the term advisedly - will "get" gonzo; it's more whether we, as the locus of the new fulcrum of power, will continue to allow corporations to be constituted the way they are under law today. In the Divine Right of Capital, Marjorie Kelly shows how a restructuring of the accounting equations currently used can put disenfranchised employees (currently not even considered hard assets, as Enron reminds us) into a position of belonging to the reason why the corporation exists. I.e., if the fulcrum is moving, it has to move not merely at the point of company-customer contact (whether throught sales or marketing); it has to occur all along the axis of corporate law, accounting practices, and probably capital formation.

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