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maybe it's all wrong
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I mean, perhaps it's the industry. Could it be the industry?

I just read this great interview with Jaron Lanier about how the tech industry fucked everyone. Some parts of that article hit so fucking close to home for me...

"And then when you move out of the tech world, everybody’s struggling. It’s a very strange thing. The numbers show an economy that’s doing well, but the reality is that the way it’s doing well doesn’t give many people a feeling of security or confidence in their futures. It’s like everybody’s working for Uber in one way or another. Everything’s become the gig economy. And we routed it that way, that’s our doing. There’s this strange feeling when you just look outside of the tight circle of Silicon Valley, almost like entering another country, where people are less secure. It’s not a good feeling. I don’t think it’s worth it, I think we’re wrong to want that feeling."

Right?! The tragic part is lots and lots of people in this industry don't even realize it. They're so far up their own asses - either thinking they are still downtrodden nerds, or suffering delusions that they will save the world. There is nothing more insufferable than working with people who are rich and don't recognize that or don't care.

Okay, there are probably a lot more insufferable things. That's my own privilege talking. But still.

It seems that whole series on NYMag might be worth a read. I even got through the one with Richard Stallman without rolling my eyes too many times. Who would've thought that this angry little libertarian who thought RMS was a total windbag in the 90s would find themself agreeing with him on so much 20 years later? I mean, he's still an ideologue, but he's not wrong when he points out that the surveillance state is already here. I feel the same way, but i'm just more cynical about it - we all know it's happening, so why even bother trying to hide any more?

Since i'm on a long read posting spree, here is Yanis Varoufakis on Marx.

Speaking of neoliberalism, and tech... I wish I had a good link for you all to read about what America did to ZTE last week. ZTE is a major Shenzhen-based hardware company. It's a poorly-kept secret that the Trump administration has been strong-arming American retailers into keeping Huawei phones off the shelves in the US, but what the Department of Commerce did to ZTE is some next-level Cold War bullshit. Blocking the purchase of American chips to retaliate for selling to Iran and North Korea will kill their whole business. It makes Xi Jinping sound prescient in his speeches of the past few years saying that China needs to develop its own chip industry. When one country has a monopoly on core tech to the point they can tank foreign companies with tens of thousands of employees on a whim... that's problematic.

Of course a red-blooded American would say well tough shit, they shouldn't put Communist Party backdoors into their phones, or sell to rogue states in the first place. Fair enough. Meanwhile Facebook is transferring 1.5 billion user accounts out of Ireland to the US so that they don't have to comply with new EU privacy laws. And people complained when LiveJournal moved their user accounts to Russia. Pff.

In conclusion, fuck tech companies.

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Yep, annual pay cuts and £14 an hour for me in a sector with thousands of unfilled posts. Struggling indeed.

It's shameful. Sometimes I try to explain it to colleagues and they try to justify it by saying "but our contributions have a relatively bigger impact in dollar terms, which is why we get paid more"... and then I want to scream. I don't understand why people don't value living in a society where the people around them aren't struggling. Wouldn't that be a nicer place to live? I think it would.

It's been a little disheartening to me that even in an ostensibly Marxist state, and one that is pretty shameless about using propaganda and authoritarianism to manipulate its people into being Good Socialists... Even here it's considered strange not to chase the almighty dollar. How do we solve the problem of people just being selfish?

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