# Data. Together. Let's read about it
[About the Data Together Reading Group](https://github.com/datatogether/reading_datatogether)
## Alternatives to Capitalist Structures
When we explore current centralized data models, many of our fears and challenges are driven by the power of capitalist incentives; the reduction of privacy, disproportionate influence by advertisers, and concentrated ownership of data by a few corporations are all seemingly justified by the capitalist imperative to deliver maximum value to shareholders.
If the levers of capitalism place it in opposition to just data practices, can we imagine an alternative? What systems are imagined or practiced outside of capitalism, what is their power, and what do they center?
1. Kathi Weeks (2011): **The Problem with Work p5-8, 42-47, 51-57** Available at: [libcom.org](https://libcom.org/files/the-problem-with-work_-feminism-marxism-kathi-weeks.pdf)
1. Hanna Hurr (2016): **Silvia Federici interviewed in Mask Magazine** Available at: [maskmagazine.com/the-control-issue/struggle/interview-silvia-federici](http://www.maskmagazine.com/the-control-issue/struggle/interview-silvia-federici)
1. Cory Doctorow (2017): **Walkaway** (a novel) [Excerpt]. Available at: [tor.com/2017/04/03/excerpts-cory-doctorow-walkaway-chapter-2/](https://www.tor.com/2017/04/03/excerpts-cory-doctorow-walkaway-chapter-2/)
1. Gibson-Graham, J.K. and E. Miller (2015): "**Economy as Ecological Livelihood**" Available at: [communityeconomies.org/publications/chapters/economy-ecological-livelihood](http://www.communityeconomies.org/publications/chapters/economy-ecological-livelihood)
1. Frase, Peter (2011): "**Four Futures**" Available at: [jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures/](https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures/)
1. Michael Johnson (2012): **The Cooperative Principles, the Common Good, and Solidarity** Available at: [geo.coop/story/cooperative-principles-common-good-and-solidarity](http://www.geo.coop/story/cooperative-principles-common-good-and-solidarity)
1. Arturo Escobar (2018): **Designs for the Pluriverse** intro **p7-21**
1. *Optional* All of Doctorow's novel **[Walkaway](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40604388-walkaway)**
1. *Optional* Adrienne Maree Brown (2017): **Emergent Strategy** Resilience, Creating More Possibilities **p77-98**
1. *Optional* Nora Marks Dauenhauer (1990): **Haa Tuwunáagu Yis** on potlatch (jsoo.éex’) **p75-109**
**Work as the source of meaning in a life**
* Weeks: trend from direct exchange of money for a defined "job", to Protestant work ethic where work is an end in itself, to modern job hiring processes where you must display "passion" for the work in order to be hired
* *Is it work if you don't get paid for it?* Is "work" inherently important?
* Frase (4):
> ...decisions about work are already driven by non-material considerations, among those who are privileged enough to have the option: millions of people choose to go to graduate school, or become social workers, or start small organic farms, even when far more lucrative careers are open to them.
**"Value" and money**: "common sense" in modern business equates money and value– truisms like "what gets measured gets managed". When we use money to account for value, what are we failing to measure? What are we overvaluing?
* Wages for Housework movement (Federici, Weeks) to value traditionally undervalued roles
* Reframing of waged work
* Walkaway: "threaten with starvation" if you don't work
* Money can be exchanged for almost anything– makes it useful but also creates absurdities (value of a life, exchange rates across borders, salary of a teacher vs a software engineer); value is a matter of perspective
* Frase: "one can't use one kind of status to buy another" (status as "currency")
* Escobar: "...the basis of biological existence is the act of emotioning, and that social coexistence is based on love, prior to any mode of appropriation and conflict that might set in."
**Class, heirarchy, and inequality as direct results of capitalism**
* Waged labor as a power construct (Marx quoted & analyzed p6 of Weeks)
> "one consents to give the other his or her labor power for a limited period of time, and in return, the other agrees to pay the first a specific amount of money. But to see what happens after the employment contract is signed, the analysis must then move to a different location, the site where this special commodity will be 'consumed'..." 5, 6 "the activity of labor and the social relations that shape, direct, and manage it- will be revealed as the locus of capitalist valorization"
* "primitive accumulation": Marx's term, in [Federici](http://www.maskmagazine.com/the-control-issue/struggle/interview-silvia-federici)
> "the dispossession of millions of people from their means of subsistence ... something that is still taking place today, constantly. She proposes that this also includes and is made possible through the production of difference – hierarchies built upon gender, “race,” and age, that separate, divide people, domesticating some and marginalizing others in order to produce a continuous supply of new workers, enclose more land, and create ever-evolving forms of exploitation."
* Rentism & IP (Frase, 6)– enables creative class, enables class divide
**Scarcity vs abundance**
* Robots increasing efficiency reduces/eliminates "need" to manage labor in the absence of bosses
* Walkaway: concept that there *is* enough
* Is it a part of the human condition to always want more, or more *than*?
* Doctorow (Walkaway):
> It doesn’t work at all in theory. In theory, we’re selfish assholes who want more than our neighbors, can’t be happy with a lot if someone else has a lot more. In theory, someone will walk into this place when no one’s around and take everything. In theory, it’s bullshit. This stuff only works in practice. In theory, it’s a mess.
* Frase (5): "...within human societies, certain immaterial goods will always be inherently scarce: reputation, respect, esteem among one's peers."
**Can we get *there* from *here*? Building new frameworks**
* Žižek, in Frase: "It’s easy to imagine the end of the world, but we cannot imagine the end of capitalism."
* Cooperative principles:
* Voluntary and Open Membership
* Democratic Member Control
* Member Economic Participation
* Autonomy and Independence
* Education, Training and Information
* Co-operation among co-operatives
* Concern for Community
* Escobar (9):
> ...society has to be reinstrumentalized to satisfy the twin goals of conviviality and efficiency within a postindustrial framework. This goal requires facing head-on the threats that accelerated growth and the uncontrollable expansion of tools pose to key aspects of the human experience...including the following: humans’ historical localization in place and nature; people’s autonomy for action; human creativity, truncated by instrumentalized education, information, and the media; people’s right to an open political process; and humans’ right to community, tradition, myth, and ritual—in short, the threats to place, autonomy, knowledge, political process, and community
* Gibson-Graham & Miller:
> The ecological entry point forces us to step back from the temporary centering operations of economics and ask how relations of livelihood creation and collective provisioning interact, conflict, co-constitute each other, and generate emergent properties.
* Brown: "What we put our attention on grows."
* Brown (Creating More Possibilities): idea that sometimes you can't work toward a small vision, only a big one that changes everything at once
*Copy this template into a [new notepad](//hackmd.io/new) to take notes for your reading group's discussion!*