Bio-hackers, crime journalism, and socialstructing the future


2 Responses to “Bio-hackers, crime journalism, and socialstructing the future”

  1. Paul Spinrad says:

    I see such networks of social capital as a two-edged sword. On one hand, you have the generous and resilient structures that you remember from Odessa, and on the other hand, your description of “A vast informal economy driven by human relationships, dense networks of social connections through which people traded resources and created value” could also describe a crime syndicate.

    Or, to mix metaphors, it’s actually a spectrum in between these two points. Supportive communities at one end, sadistic warlord control structures at the other, and in between are the uncountable and ever-changing greys of more cliquish and exclusive communities, kinder and more socially concerned warlords, etc.  The axis that the spectrum runs along corresponds to how people inside or in contact with the social structures are treated.

    (And in general, I think disasters and sudden shared misfortune tend to push the structures towards the nice end of the spectrum, at least temporarily and locally, but scarcity and social inequities push them to the mean end.)

    The OCCRP sounds terrific, thanks for writing about them. They strike me as a counter-network battling and exposing an exploitative network, and as Dr. Evil says to James Bond, “We are not so different, you and I.”  And as Aristotle said, every form of government has a perversion.  Where decentralized social networks vie for competing interests, there will always be a need for a policing network that keeps the other networks in line with an ethical code, and which people can appeal to if they feel they have been treated unfairly– i.e. a mafia.  So I hope that the OCCRP can act effectively as a mafia.  By which I mean a mafia in the old-school sense– not like these days, where they’ve betrayed their values and there are no rules…

    • David Pescovitz says:

      Hi Paul! Nice to see you here. Yes, very good point about the two-edged sword. In fact, Marina and I just yesterday were discussing how the very groups that the OCCRP works to expose are also using “socialstructing” to increase the reach and impact of their corruption. 

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