By Jim McGuigan
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Extra info for Cool Capitalism
Physical, tangible property matters much less than the informational template. In this respect, Microsoft is the classic case. It deals in patented software. Great wealth, in point of fact, derives from ownership of intellectual property, the cardinal form of intangible property, which somewhat contradicts the thesis of a transition from ownership to access as the distinguishing feature of the age. Policing valorisation, though, can be irksome for intellectual property holders, when unscrupulous pirates rip off American corporations around the world.
30 The whole culture has become motivated by instant gratification. ’32 The problem, in Bell’s estimation, is that this shift from asceticism to hedonism leaves capitalism with scant moral justification in the Weberian sense. During the ’60s, the assault of Modernism and the rise of mass consumerism were topped off by a set of counter-cultural values that became very popular; most notably, in Bell’s account, by the so-called ‘democratization of culture’ that dispenses with judgement as to worth.
It is divided into two parts. Part I is entitled, ‘The New Capitalist Frontier’; Part II, ‘Enclosing the Cultural Commons’. The frontier metaphor is apt in that the first half of the book sets out an exciting and inspiring scenario for the young capitalist to take off into. The metaphor of a cultural commons, derived from the common land of pre-capitalism, being enclosed by the capitalist seizure and commodification of everything, problematises the whole process and links up with various sources of criticism: green politics, anti-capitalism, and so on.
Cool Capitalism by Jim McGuigan