[rumori] Re: Commodity Taxes & Intellectual Labor.1

From: Don Joyce (djATwebbnet.com)
Date: Sun Apr 28 2002 - 09:41:23 PDT

I get your point and it's a good one to get I guess. But I do resist things
like not calling a tax a tax because, presumably, America cannot
intellectually accomodate seeing things for what they are and calling them
accordingly. I know, this is why artists have managers, but I don't, rather
resenting their role of smoothing out the rough edges of raw thinking. But
anyway, you and I know that my idea is never going to be popularly adopted
in this brand slogan and political phobia driven society of capitalist
dunces and consuming sheep. (Yup, there's those rough edges again!) But no,
privately guarded competition will persist to the bitter end here, dividing
and conquering many much better ideas which try to focus on the general
welfare, like the untouchable bloody blind overstuffed meat grinder it is,
getting in fact ever more visciously selfish as their constantly pumped up
visions of privately hoarded golden eggs fade, and fade, and fade some more.

So what's the difference? Since there is no hope of not scaring everyone
with such an idea as culture-wide support for our own culture, I shall
stick with calling a spade a spade and, I suppose, remain simply dismissed
as unfortunately honest. There are worse fates, and most of them employ a
liberal sprinkling of euphemisms.

However, your suggestion of including the content/consumer synergy of
bradband capability is a good one I shall try to remember. Should I suggest
that when the Government convenes to establish this Net access tax (oops,
fee) that it will also be providing funding from taxes (oops, uh, Federal
assistance) to subsidize a fuller implementation of broadband capability
nationwide? It certainly WOULD help to keep mumbling over that other damn
access tax to a minimum as people immediately discover, hey, shit, this
really IS good! Which they wont, because it wont be, because that can't
happen here.

You know, this whole brew of ha ha's over the commercial condition of music
is, in my mind, a harbinger of things to come all over this economy as this
century progresses. No one is yet perceiving it as symptomatic of a MUCH
bigger crunch that's inevitable in all our income seeking as a society, but
I do. Private capitalism's biggest blind spot is GROWTH. It demands it,
requires it, lives for it and on it. There is NO capitalist concept of a
growthless economy. Yet it is so obvious that there must be a concept for
exactly that if any capitalist economy is to just endlessly continue
uninterrupted by outside invasion and takeover (and that's our plan, I
assume.) If population stabilizes (one of the key necessary ingredients to
continuous growth) which it actually is doing finally, this unquestionably
healthy development has to also be seen as a finite cap on growth of many
kinds. Centuries from now, all businessmen will be thinking in terms of
keeping standards of living (theirs and ours) at their highest possible
peak, the effort being one of keeping it from fluctuating or falling, but
significant new growth will be pretty much out of the question unless it's
a transition to a new form of income from and old one, a case of income
replacement. (This will be the case when all fossil fueling someday
disappears as we all KNOW it will.) Just as sure is a limit on capitalism's
growth as our society reaches resource exploitation saturation on many
fronts, it's just the simple necessity that TIME is going to bring us as
sure as we're living on this finite planet, yet no one around here has a
clue as to how all that will be negotiated. They are perfectly content to
leave that for their grandkids, when it will be far too late to transition
through it smoothly. Or more often, they continue to argue that it
absolutely wont happen at all!

So I think what's happening to music is a relatively kind and gentle
precurser to much tougher times ahead for our capitalistic complacency. Two
nicely similar acronyms, WTO and WTC, are another couple of recent clues to
what's coming for rigidly unchangeable private desires. The popular
anti-corporate movement has progressed to demonstrations and riots in the
streets on a regular basis, and a terrorist jumbo jet packed with Americans
was flown into the World TRADE Center to make a point(!) But our eyes are
still wide shut and it's business as usual everywhere. Don't rush us? Well,
I suggest music's current travails are the result of not seeing any of the
signs and so not being rushed about it 10 years ago. And now, welcome to
PANIC. Oh, and watch out, time passes FASTER than it used to, or hasn't
anyone noticed that either?


>My only suggestion is call it something else than a "tax." Because such a
>would require a Congressional mandate, signed by the President, you have to
>remember who's in power and their position on taxes. Additionally, talk
>to any
>Republican about taxes and tell them you want a tax to support the "Arts"
>(Republicans are notorious for doing everything in their power to strip
>for the "Arts") and you build a wall so high you'll never get over it.
>The way this needs to be approached is from a 'commerce' perspective...
>i.e.. the
>Arts are what will fuel the roll out of broadband. If the arts aren't
>in a way that will insure their commercial viability - meaning they have the
>possibility of generating profits for those who chose to invest in them -
>broadband will be stymied for lack of attractions that will entice the
>consumer to
>pay the price to upgrade from 56K modems.
>It seems to me that the focus should be on the rollout of broadband
>(attractive to
>government) and what is needed to make that happen which is the supporting
>of the
>commodity (entertainment) that will attract customers to broadband.
>Don Joyce wrote:
>> Yes, it was difficult to read and fully comprehend, and this calarifies it
>> while not being a totally satisfying read either because you are not
>> putting forth any mechanism I can discern here to implement your
>> philosophical stance on modern cultural experiencing (which I fully agree
>> with). A flat tax on Internet access is NOT a tax on commodities - it's a
>> universal tax on a universal SERVICE in order to enable free commodities
>> therein if that's what you're after (and who isn't?). We are ALL taxed to
>> construct roads whether we drive or not. At some point way back there we
>> just decided that's Ok and the best way to progress as a civilized society.
>> This is no different. Man, getting USED to something apparently makes all
>> the difference in whether we think it's "right' or not. This human foible
>> does not bode well for useful change!
>> So otherwise, what's your idea on how to put usage appropriate checks in
>> intellectual laborers' mailboxes?
>> You can go to the moon in your mind but you gotta come back to your mailbox
>> to get paid.
>> DJ
>> Negativland
>> >In a message dated 4/25/02 3:40:01 AM, djATwebbnet.com writes:
>> >
>> >>Taxing non-material, virtual services like digitized music at their
>> >mediumistic access point is the ONLY workable way to reward the
>> >labor involved in creating it.<
>> >
>> >
>> >Don, I'm surprised at you. Of all people. I know I can be a difficult
>> >at times (particularly when I'm venturing into new turf) but you're not
>> >refuting my position, you're repeating it. Or should I say 'sampling and
>> >looping' it?
>> >
>> >Commodities are goods. Commerce is trade in goods and services. A very
>> >great deal of commerce depends upon Intellectual Labor; and more will
>> >upon it in the decades to come as we complete the shift from the Industrial
>> >era to the 'Information' era. It is a much broader fiscal base from
>>which to
>> >draw support than any single class of goods, particularly as the very
>> >integrity of the latter dissipates in the virtual estate.
>> >
>> >And that fundamental fact is a primary reason why I'm repositioning the
>> >debate as one of rewarding Intellectual Labor rather than of sequestering
>> >Intellectual Property.
>> >
>> >We've been chasing the wrong rabbit. That's just blindingly obvious at
>> >point.
>> >
>> >Copies are the wrong thing to base rewards on in a realm where ubiquity
>> >drives their value to nil. And shifting that burden of reward
>>exclusively to
>> >the manufacturers of certain dumb hard goods which aren't even the
>>product of
>> >those Labors is just nonsensical, to say nothing of unfair.
>> >
>> >If the purpose of granting a limited government monopoly to seek those
>> >rewards is to benefit the whole of society as well as incentivize the
>> >to further Labors, then the whole of society should share equally in
>> >those rewards. Or at least those segments of society which actually
>> >the means - the commerce, the trade, the profit, the CASH - to do so. In
>> >return, society gets the right to freely invent ways to create new commerce
>> >to reward Intellectual Labor without restriction - i.e. commercial
>> >access, and non-commercial fair use.
>> >
>> >Bluntly, I am advocating a return to Constitutional purpose and a
>> >re-examination of the means by which we achieve that mandate - at least in
>> >regards to the digital network realm. The 'copy right' architecture of the
>> >analog world may be exceedingly arcane and horribly far from perfect,
>>but it
>> >is a system which works well enough for that realm. And, as the Great
>> >over these past five years has proven, it is - in any event - a difficult
>> >notion to dislodge from most minds which have never known (let alone
>> >contemplated) an alternative.
>> >
>> >I am decidedly not looking to replace the right to make copies in the real
>> >world. But I am looking to reward authors for their labors in the digital
>> >world. And commodity taxes *definitely* ain't it. Nor, it appears,
>> >as we have built it to date. Not when 'the thing' ceases to exist in the
>> >virtual world and the 'right' to copy becomes an act of will beyond the
>> >of government intervention.
>> >
>> >You can't put your arms around a memory. Nor inside every box on the
>> >
>> >We must follow the money, not the unit. We must embrace the performance
>> >model and relinquish the mechanical model. That is not such a difficult
>> >thing - we spent most of the last century laying the foundation for that
>> >transition with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. We are, very simply, no longer a
>> >mechanical economy, nor have we been for a very, very long time.
>> >
>> >Cheers,
>> >Kevin Doran
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