I find it interesting that the Starbucks arrest scandal is happening along side the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, as they are both stark reminders that spaces that have been marketed to us as public and communal are actually private and corporate. I.e., relying on capitalism to provide us with public commons is a really terrible idea.

18 thoughts on “I find it interesting that the Starbucks arrest scandal is happening along side the Facebook Cambridge Analytica…

  1. Great insight. I hadn’t really thought of that. But I suppose what this suggests is that public commons are a privilege and not a right. City planning has somehow purposefully not included a public commons (probably because those would invite the poor, who are a great inconvenience to those of us not in need…), and the government doesn’t want to even provide everyone with access to the internet, let alone provide commons there.

  2. I’ll admit that I don’t have a perfect alternative solution in mind, but all of this was banging around my head along with that Jaron Lanier talk I posted yesterday: “We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.” I feel like this is as true in meatspace as it is online.

    That said, I’m not going to write off the government as totally incapable of any of this, either. Americans always assume this, but other countries (the Danes) seem to have this stuff worked out.

    William Benjamin John Davis’s point about email is pretty apt, though. The internet at its core is about decentralized communication technology. This seems like simply a technical hurdle.

  3. I think, though both are large problems, there’s a significant difference between “Your access is limited based on what is profitable to us” vs. “Your access is limited based on people voluntarily enforcing Jim Crow long after the ‘No Negroes allowed’ signs came down”. In the former you can follow the money and the non-regulation and see how we got there, the latter however has none of those incentives and has to be handled differently.

  4. Yeah, this was one of the key points in Naomi Klein’s No Logo back in 2000, pointing out how the mall was becoming the communal space of many communities but it was a heavily controlled environment that allowed none of the freedoms of the traditional town square. The point transfers to online seamlessly. 🙁