RE: ply to Grant

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Tue Feb 05 2002 - 22:32:57 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: RE: ply to Grant
    Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 14:32:57 -0800
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    ><It IS worth billions. Just look at the culture that Bill Gates built and
    >the billions he collected for his efforts. The same goes for Hewlett
    >Packard, Apple and Intel. They didn't just invent new products. They also
    >invented new ways of organizing labor and management so that labor was able
    >to share the riches and become totally involved in the work they were
    >I'd dispute this at a number of levels, as new products are exactly all
    >these companies produced. The way those products have incorporated into
    >existing cultural practices, and began in some instances to alter those
    >practices, is a product of the usage of those products. Take a look at
    >Bolter & Grusin's book 'Remediations' about new media, which looks at this
    >from the point of view of how "new" media essentially do little more than
    >repackage and reutilize the conventions of previous media forms.
    >Did Henry Ford envisage the socio-cultural impact of line production,
    >evident in those classic critiuqes of the mass society (from the likes of C
    >Wright Mills; and BTW I mena classic as in old) or did he just want to
    >increase supply to meet (feed) demand?
    >Take the war in central africa- one primary factor is the mining of
    >that are a major constituent of the sim cards in people's mobile phones.
    >Not to mention the massive increase in petty theft in the UK almost
    >caused by the widespread ownership of mobile phones (the main increase has
    >been in phone thefts- so much so that senior judges are calling for
    >sentences in jail that would be longer than for things like indecent/sexual
    >The politico-economic, socio-cultural impacts of innovations are not
    >invented by the creators of those innovations. A good example would be to
    >look at the rhetoric about the global harmony that the telegraph would
    >produce (see Tom Standage's 'The Victorian Internet' for some interesting
    >stuff on this).
    All memes are built on memes that existed before. It's the new combination
    of old ideas that produces new culture. SO I can't see that the changes
    Henry Ford made to the manufacturing process are somehow not his work. It
    sounds a lot like picking nits to me. Sure, he took the ideas of other men
    and used them to create his own culture of making cars. But nobody else put
    it all together exactly the same we he did. It's the total package that was
    new, not the individual ideas that went into it.

    It's the same with the Computer culture developed in Silicon Valley. Each
    element of the complex existed at some point before it was incorporated into
    the culture. But these men changed forever the way such things are being
    done by putting them together in a new way. If you don't want to give them
    credit for what they did, that's fine. But I've lived long enough to see
    the changes and I doubt they would have come about exactly the same way
    under the direction of anyone else.

    It doesn't matter that these men didn't have the entire vision before they
    set out to build their companies. Culture grows from bits and pieces
    generated from the minds of men who are solving one problem at a time.
    Organizing the enterprise is one of the problems they had to solve.
    Compensating the people who worked for them was another. Their solutions
    were adopted by others who came after them.

    People don't know the impact their ideas will have until after the ideas
    have been adopted. But it's the sum total of the ideas they put together
    that comprise the culture, not the bits and pieces that go into it. Many
    are thrown away in the process. And it never stops. It becomes a line of
    evolution that new cultures will grow out of.

    Bill Gates and his ideas are now having a tremendous impact on how software
    is produced in China. The ideas of Karl Marx, Henry Ford and Bill Gates are
    in a huge struggle to determine where the culture of manufacturing in China
    will end up. What they have ten years now will contain elements from all
    these sources. Some people will profit from these contributions and some
    won't. But the ideas themselves will generate billions of dollars in both
    profits and losses.


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