Newmedia on Tue, 15 Feb 2000 00:56:07 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Revolution! Globalism! Convergence! New Economy! NOW!!


Thanks for your "fundamentalist" analysis of equity valuations.  I suspect
that this was a primer for many on nettime. 

As a long time, and some say once "heralded" stock analyst decidedly of
the "fundamental" (i.e. dividend-discount valuation) school (for many I
was apparently the "last" anaylst of this school in tech-stocks), I
appreciated your recitation of "old school" principles.  (And, I'm happy
to see that you copyrighted it!) 

However, you've overlooked something equally fundamental which you might
wish to consider in future versions of your essay: anticipation of
"monopoly" position in a world without edges.  Without national borders. 
Without industrial edges. 

The current valuation "bubble" in tech-stocks is *not* premised simply on
discounted future cash-flows -- in the traditional fashion.  Not at all. 
If it were, it would be merely another "frenzy" or simply another "Tulip
Mania" -- waiting to be toppled.  Which it isn't.  Not at all. 

For good or ill, the fundamentals of the current situation lie more deeply
buried . . . which are, ironically no doubt, partly a result of the
"internationalist", "revolutionary" and "radical" thinking lying beneath
much of nettime's own rhetoric.  Nettime is (partly) responsible for the
"frenzy." (Pit . . . ECUTE!) 

Yes, nettime is partly responsible for Yahoo's stock price.  (Listen up,

Imagine having a "monopoly" on anything in the world described everyday on
nettime!  There is no limit to the "value" of such an inter-galactic #1
position in every possible market imaginable.  Thank you nettime for
pushing the stocks up another day!  For contributing to the "frenzy." <g>

These prices are premised on "globalism", "convergence", "revolution" and
the so-called "new economy" -- far more than on the "Internet" or any
other specific technology.  So . . . the most likely scenario is that
these prices will only "collapse" when -- and only when -- these notions
are themselves discarded. 

So, if you imagine that the much publicized "protests" like the current
"romantic", "dis-appeared" human, machinic "rage-against-the-machines"
being staged by "smurfs" and others (including the "etoys" gambit) will
deflate the public confidence in the "Internet" -- thus ending what Pit
calls the "obscene risks and inequality resulting out of the Internet
stock frenzy" -- you are sadly mistaken.  Very sadly. 

These "attacks" will only strengthen the "machines" and weaken the already
"dis-appeared" humans.  Mark my words.  (Pit, listen up!  ECUTE!  Mon ami
. . .) 

Here's how the "machines" think and the "categories" they use (and how
nettime routinely abets the process): 

"Globalism" -- this is the new term for 3rd (or was it the 4th) 
International's long propagandized "internationalism" (or, if you prefer,
H.G. Wells' "new imperialism" <g>) and it is very deeply believed, indeed. 
Particularly in the (dis-appeared) "Euro-Left."  Everytime that a European
Foreign Minister refuses to attend an Austrian event, everytime that an
"artist" refuses to exhibit in Austria . . . "globalism" is strengthened. 
Everytime that a parliamentarian speaks out for "human rights" and how
these "rights" supercede national sovereignty . . . "globalism" is
strengthened.  The NATO bombing of Kosovo directly propped up Amazon's
stock price.  No doubt.  Through Tom Friedman's columns in the NYTimes
which linked the two phenomenon. 

If you wish to argue that there will be a dramatic swing back towards
support for the "nation-state" -- thus scrapping 50+ years of support for
"PoGOs"  (Post Governmental Organizations) by the (dis-appeared)
"Euro-Left" -- then "globalism" might slump.  Otherwise, don't count on

"Convergence" -- To undo this one, you will need to un-ravel the enormous
influence of MIT's "Media Lab", the owner's of this term.  Partly as a
result of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Congress decided to stop DoD funding
for "non-military" projects.  Up until that point (i.e. the 1973
"Mansfield amendment"), ARPA funded most of the "social science" and
virtually all of the "computer science" in the U.S.  When Negroponte and
his DoD-mentor, Jerome Weisner, went out to fund the "Media Lab" they had
to go to commercial sources and, thus was born "convergence."  He had to
take money from everyone and, thus, he had to claim that everyone was
about to go in everyone-else's business.  It worked.  Fear usually does. 

If you wish to argue that people will scrap the 100's of billions that
they have invested in the notion that there are no barriers to entry in
ANY business and that people will return to the "old school" notion of
hard "industrial" barriers, then you might expect a "collapse" in current
valuations.  (While you're at it, you'll have to crush all the wonderful
descriptions of post-humanity, cyborgs and other "improvements" on the
human-race premised on the "merger" metaphysics-of-digitalization which
regularly appear on nettime.)  Otherwise, don't count on it. 

"Revolution" -- In Janet Reno's speech to announce the Microsoft
anti-trust lawsuit, she used the term "revolution" five times.  In the
Pentagon and at NATO HQ, there has been a "revolution-in-military-affairs"
for 20 years.  On nettime, every day, someone professes that we are
witnessing a "revolution" in human-affairs brought on by the Internet (or
whatever).  If you wish to believe that people will scrap the idea that
they are living through a "revolution" that will change *everything*, then
you might expect a "collapse" in current valuations.  (Oh, yeah, how many
of you on nettime are willing to give up on the possiblity of
technology-driven "revolution."  Let's start with a vote on
"Cyber-Communism" shall we?  Or, how about using machines to
"rage-against-the-machines."  Show of hands, please.)  Otherwise, don't
count on it. 

"New Economy" -- open up today's NYTimes.  Read Stephen Roache's Op-Ed on
"Working Better, or Just Harder?"  If you wish to believe that people will
actually listen to Roach, understand that there has been no "productivity"
improvement in the economy and scrap the entire idea of a "new economy" --
to which every single business editorialist in the entire world is
committed -- then you might expect a "collapse" in current valuations. 
(Maybe Richard Barbrook could lead this long overdue "productivity"
discussion?)  Otherwise, don't count on it. 

If you wish to DO something about the state-of-affairs in which we now
live, the first step is to take a long hard look in the mirror.  How are
*you* responsible?  Personally.  Answer that question first. 

To the degree that nettimer's (and the rest of the generalized
"cyber-cultural" mass-movement for which nettime is a sort of "vanguard")
are willing to scrap their own notions of "globalism", "convergence",
"revolution" and "new economy", they might contribute to a deeper
understanding of the current situation.  Just might. 

But, without such an understanding, nettime (and the "cyber-culture" it
represents) is simply doomed to make things "worse."  "Smurf" attacks
(including the "etoys" gambit) will only lead to greater counter-measures
-- directly strengthening the "machines."  Indeed, many already believe
that the DoD or similiar "machine-devil-symbols" are behind these attacks,

First you have to understand media.  Then you might think about using it. 

"Free your mind . . . the rest will follow . . .",

Mark Stahlman

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