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[P]
Hacker Age is here!

By maarken in Op-Ed
Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 11:35:07 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The government has a problem. No, it's not the Middle East. It's not the economy. It's a shift in the fundamental makeup of the power lynchpins.


Every economic model has a lynchpin that if you pull it, or it pulls itself, will bring the whole thing to a grinding halt.

For centuries that pin has been the lower middle class, i.e. plebs, serfs, factory workers, etc. Relatively unskilled and minimally educated people that, so long as they were happy and fed, were relatively satisfied. Sure, you got one now and then that got "inspired" and tried to start an uprising, but most of those never got far.

Times have changed. OK, fast-forward to today, fading into 1-2 years down the road. Now you have an "Information Age" that replaces those old-style lynchpins with something vastly different. The "Information Age". Who controls the information, and thus, the "Age"?
We do.

The "hackers". Highly intelligent, highly educated people that tend to be "counter culture", and as such, scare the government and most organized bodies completely witless. Look what happened when a few Verizon operators went on strike! Think what would happen if the sysadmins at some key Fortune 500 companies decided to strike, or just go on a surprise vacation?

At the moment things might come completely apart, but I'm betting that in a few years, the economic linchpins are going to be consolidated in us. The geeks. The government needs to wake up and smell the new-monitor smell. Things are changing. Now they have to keep smart people happy, not just keep the middle class happy. Can they do it? I really don't think so.

I mean, here you have a guy (Signal_11), who I've talked to, and is quite intelligent, that's voting for Nader, not because he likes him, or because he believes in him or his policies, but because he just wants to different, and tweak the nose of the two main dorks.

Perhaps the next time around the candidates ought to think about talking about their stance on the export of cryptography, not just sit there a flap their yap about social security, something geeks don't really want anyway.

Let see, so far we've heard the word "Internet" used once in the debates. ONCE! And it was in conjunction with Columbine, which just about any geek will tell you is utter BS. Yup, they're really catering to the geek population all right.

Welcome to the Hacker Age folks. Enjoy the ride, it's gonna be fun!

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Hacker Age is here! | 93 comments (41 topical, 52 editorial, 1 hidden)
I think you make a number of errors .... (4.12 / 31) (#1)
by streetlawyer on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 12:58:35 PM EST

... but quite like this article. At least you've managed to reinvent some of the more interesting mistakes of political theory over the last hundred years.

1. Economic determinism. Your lynchpin idea is basically Marxist historical materialism. Since I actually believe in historical materialism, I won't criticise it here, but others probably will.

2. The idea of a "special" class. Over the years, this key class has been soldiers, industrial workers, financiers, etc. None of these theories have ever really worked. Workers are much more interchangeable than you think (capital always ensures that this is the case), so unless you have the whole of the working class on your side, you're unlikely to have the huge effects you prophesy. By the way, "working class" (which is defined by relation to the means of production) is a better and more exact term than "lower to middling class" (which is defined in terms of income.

3. I think you grossly underestimate the intelligence of workers in traditional industries relative to "hackers". Furthermore, I think you exaggerate the importance of "hackers", as opposed to proleterians working with technology, in the economy. How many of those Verizon operators would be friends with Eric Raymond? And the Fortune 500 companies would most likely miss their janitors before their sysadmins.

4. I think you overestimate the intrinsic radicalism of "hackers". There is no political consensus there; there isn't even a community of economic interest. And I don't see "hackers" forming a vanguard to rally the wider community of information workers; Joe Sixpack administering the NT network at Citibank is not going to man the barricades just because somebody who wrote a prominent Unix utility tells him to.

It's not the Hacker Age. It's the Age of Capital. And until something much more radical happens, it will continue to be.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
Thank you (1.37 / 8) (#2)
by farmgeek on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:03:08 PM EST

I wanted to respond with something similar, but couldn't express myself clearly in this case.


[ Parent ]
Heinlein (4.25 / 20) (#4)
by kallisti on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:13:23 PM EST

One of the Future History stories, "The Roads Must Roll" deals with exactly this kind of thinking. The engineers who control the giant rolling roads everyone relies on start to think that just because they can throw a big monkey wrench in the system, that they are therefore enititled to power.

The story had the engineers working from an old 1930's idea whose name I cannot recall now. One of Heinlein's characters notes that modern society is interdependent on almost everyone, which is the downfall of such thinking.

The ones in power are the ones with the most money, and that is the elderly. Don't let a few new millionaires blind you to the forces of old money.

"We" is largely a myth when it comes to politics, anyway. Intelligence does not lead one to a certain viewpoint, although intelligent people do seem awfully insistent on whatever position they do have. I think that even a shift in power to the "hacker" class would result in a battle between the Randian, Libertarian, Extropian, Technophile, Green, Marxist, Discordian, Christian, and God knows what else belief systems as seen here and other sites every day. Admittedly, it would make debates much more interesting than they are today.

Thought of the same story... (4.28 / 7) (#20)
by El Volio on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 02:30:18 PM EST

...and yes, as important as we techies are, we're not the only ones who are.

The Verizon example is a pretty good one, but doesn't go far enough. (Disclaimer: I work for Superpages.com, which is part of Verizon. I don't have anything to do with Network Services, however, and the strike affected the former Bell Atlantic SBU's, not any former GTE, where I am). It was more than the operators: it was the linemen, switch technicians, etc. In fact, lots of sysadmins, web developers, etc. got pulled off of their normal duties and were out trying to fill in. In a phone company, you're either union or management, even if you're not a manager. So we actually had intranet web developers driving trucks around New York.

My point there is multi-fold:

  1. Techies weren't so important that they were left in their jobs while the actual phone network had problems. Those jobs were determined to be, in the short run, non-essential, and the work was spread around when necessary.
  2. Even the front-line personnel, critical as they are, were, in the short term, able to be replaced. Customers did have problems that couldn't be attended to, but the personnel that were thrown into the gap at least kept the network running.
  3. We're all essential. The only reason everything survived, as difficult as it was, was that the strike was temporary. If any group were out for a length of time, it would have been totally unbearable. (This is why agreements are reached in labor disputes, obviously). And as much as we like to rag on the "suits", if there were no managers around, eventually that would cause problems as well. There's not too many jobs that are so non-essential that removing them wouldn't cause any problems (though they do exist... ;> )

So, yes, we're essential. But so are truck drivers, accountants, grocery clerks, teachers, policemen, even lawyers (though maybe not so many :) ).

[ Parent ]

Atlas Shrugged (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by kmself on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 11:52:02 PM EST

"The man who stopped the motor of the world".

(Who is John Galt?)

...and a fun read, if you cut out the parts that Ayn Rand wrote <g>.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

I don't understand your 'lynchpin' concept. (3.37 / 16) (#7)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:19:23 PM EST

Every economic model has a lynchpin that if you pull it, or it pulls itself, will bring the whole thing to a grinding halt.
An economy is a chain of links. Remove one link and the chain is broken until you replace the link. Remove a link from anywhere along the length of the chain and you break it. Why might 'workers', hackers or even entrepreneurs be the 'lynchpin'? What gives one class a more special status in this chain? I guess the weakest link in such a chain would be at the level at which there is less interchangeability and that would be at the level where the pool of replacement links is smallest. This certainly doesn't correspond to either 'workers' or hackers. Looks to me like someone is having fantasies about their own importance.
SIGFPE
Re: I don't understand your 'lynchpin' concept. (3.00 / 6) (#9)
by tympanic on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:30:27 PM EST

I believe he is referring to the fact that the lower middle class, and now the "hackers", are the people who actually to the work, and therefore have direct control over the products/information that the economy relies on. This is why Organized Labor is so powerful, or even exists for that matter.

My $.02


"I've noticed success tends to mean making sure people's expectations are low and then exceeding them" -David Simpson
[ Parent ]

Possible (3.40 / 5) (#10)
by maarken on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:32:23 PM EST

Looks to me like someone is having fantasies about their own importance.
Hehe, quite possible. Ok, so you're the sysadmin for a major company. You and your fellow geeks are the only ones who have the passwords, or would know what to do with them. You all go on "vacation". What happens? Things can/will stop working. (depends alot on how good a sysadmin they were to start with)

If some manager type person walks out, things still work, it's just a bit of a mess until you get a new one.

--Maarken

Flip the symbols in my email.
[ Parent ]
not where I'm on site at (4.25 / 8) (#11)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:45:57 PM EST

Ok, so you're the sysadmin for a major company. You and your fellow geeks are the only ones who have the passwords, or would know what to do with them. You all go on "vacation".

None of the sysadmins where I'm on site have root access.

Root access on each unix box is strictly controlled and written down in a log book in the server room. Sys admins for the different boxes use highly priviledged accounts, but do not have root access. Now if they all left and the IT director followed and took his logbooks with him, it might cause a problem.

Then we'd have to call one of those fancy cracker places to root the box if we needed someone stat to create a new logins for the other technical staff to do the sys admin duties. Since I work on site at a tech heavy company (it writes billing software for cell phones) there are scores of people with the knowledge to to care for a sun box.

Of course, I do realize that most companies do not have (1) good procedures or (2) tech competant staff other than the normal sys admin folks. These companies will feel the pinch and have to call places like the consulting company that signs my paycheck to hire folks like me to come in and clean things up.

That is probably the largest problem with strikes in the North American IT industry. Since outsourcing is so common, legions of scabs are waiting in the wings. Now if union IT shops were the norm instead of the exception, it might be a different story.

[ Parent ]

What happens? (4.28 / 7) (#13)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:47:59 PM EST

You all go on "vacation". What happens?
Right now you might get a fairly ugly situation. But if sysadmins start behaving like this practices would rapidly change. Managers would insist on passwords being left with them and so on. Things would change to ensure that sysadmins didn't have this kind of power within a company. Of course sysdamins could (and do) act so that their work practices are designed to protect their jobs through obscurity. Again if this became a problem companies would act to defend themselves.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
The same is true of any link in the chain (3.50 / 2) (#25)
by /dev/niall on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 03:06:36 PM EST

If some manager type person walks out, things still work, it's just a bit of a mess until you get a new one.

And if they all walk out? Being a geek myself I tend to take managerial types for granted, but If I stop for a second and really think about it I come to the conclusion that they are just as vital a link as any other.

You can bet your ass they feel the same way (ie. we're the most important link) -- that's human nature.
--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

Yeah, Sort of (but maybe not) (3.50 / 10) (#14)
by JB on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 01:50:12 PM EST

Power is not as simple as you suggest. The truckers, refinerey workers, and autoworkers were (are) all critical to industrial output. They occassionally went on strike or slowdown to get improvements in conditions and wages. But at no time during the industrial age were they running the show.

Programmers and sysadmins are currently pretty well paid, and they are not nearly as organized as other professions. I can't imagine geeks forming a union to exert their power under current conditions. If the economy changes and there are lots of unemployed geeks, then wages will drop, and hey, its too late to organize, because there are lots of people willing to work outside of the confederation or union.

JB

Balance of Power (3.20 / 25) (#17)
by Signal 11 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 02:13:42 PM EST

First, thanks for the props maarken. :)

What I want you (yes, you, *tap* *tap* on the other side of the monitor glass) to ask yourself is: Has the balance of power tipped too far to one side?

Most people regard the temporarily equilibriums of our society as eternally functional parts. For them, any change is suspect. For them, change threatens to destroy the invisible framework that holds the chaos back in our society. It's no suprise that all modern crusades have been suspect, and railed against. In the 60's it was the free speech movement. In the 70's it was the communists. In the 80's it was corporations, and in the 90's it was the computer hacker. The elements that can bring change to society are traditionally the first targetted for isolation and removal.

Ask yourself if the balance of power has tipped. Are corporations too strong? Is government too powerful? Is hacktivism and electronic terrorism a real threat? Then you can answer the question of should you get involved.

I believe the reason we are seeing our rights taken away is because of economic prosperity. People are content, America has changed little in the past 10 years. There is no growth, we have stagnated. As a result, people have become super-suspect of crusades. Why do they need their rights? What are they hiding?

The time for change will come when this country (the US) faces an economic downturn. Then the invisible framework will come crashing down. People will clamor for change - they will clamor for a return to the prosperity they had before.

That is when you should dedicate your energies towards furthering the betterment of society, but for now, keep your head low and wait. That's just my advice: practice civil disobedience if you must (and as all rational men should when matters of importance are in question), but try to keep off the reactionary radar that is sweeping the country for now. Don't worry - the world, and politics, is cyclical, our opportunity for change will come around soon.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Oops (3.16 / 6) (#22)
by maarken on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 02:37:45 PM EST

hehe, I might have hesitated a moment before submiting the story, had I known I was going to bring *that* down on all of you! :)

However, Siggy managed to convey the "bigger picture" of what I was talking about. I touch this somewhat when I said "1-2 years". Right now, we're still a force of change, and thus, not looked upon kindly.
In a few years though, we'll just be a part of life, and no one will think twice that "geeks" are everywhere. The next time things weaken, be it economic, or politic weakness, we need to be ready to push for change. And push HARD.

As a favor to all of you, I think I'll stop posting this type thing, and just give my ideas to Signal_11. He's really a much better writer than I am, but then, he does this kind of thing more. :) I guess karma whores make good writers after all. :)

--Maarken

So, should I but the Rah, Rah here, or at the top? :P


Flip the symbols in my email.
[ Parent ]
Insurrection (3.60 / 5) (#36)
by Kaa on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 03:52:51 PM EST

What I want you (yes, you, *tap* *tap* on the other side of the monitor glass) to ask yourself is: Has the balance of power tipped too far to one side?

*tap* *tap*. Practicing for jail time, aren't we?

As to the balance of power, it's a very, very vague question. Which power? Political, economical, cultural, military...? How many sides are there? What's "too far"? Compared to what? In the US? Europe? China? Singapore?

It's no suprise that all modern crusades have been suspect, and railed against.

You meant "rallied against", right? Anyway, the fact that these crusades appeared is a powerful argument by itself. Yes, they were resisted but they were a force to be resisted.

Then you can answer the question of should you get involved.

You missed two all-important questions:

(1) What can I do and what am I prepared to do?

(2) What is the price I am willing to pay?

Honest answers (to the second question, especially) should go a long way towards deciding whether to get involved.

America has changed little in the past 10years. There is no growth, we have stagnated.

Hmm... Which growth? Economic? Nah, it certainly happened. Technological? Certainly happened, too. Cultural? Debatable, but Internet certainly did major things to culture, in the US at least. Political? Probably that's what you mean, but is there such a beast as political growth? Politics rarely evolve, they usually change by upheavals with the periods of stasis in between. I doubt we are approaching another upheaval period (in the West).

practice civil disobedience if you must (and as all rational men should when matters of importance are in question), but try to keep off the reactionary radar that is sweeping the country for now.

I have a suspicion that keeping one's head down to stay under the radar is going to become a lifelong habit... There is no evidence of a massive crackdown (in the West, again) any time soon, economic downturn or no economic downturn.

Yes, prosperity breeds content, but it also bring willingness to take risks. The time to experiment and propose experiments is now, when everybody is feeling safe and sound. Once the hard times begin, appetite for change will become much weaker.

Kaa
Kaa's Law: In any sufficiently large group of people most are idiots.


[ Parent ]
RE: Insurrection (2.50 / 6) (#43)
by Signal 11 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 05:55:02 PM EST

Practicing for jail time, aren't we?

I'm not living in a free society if I can't voice my opinion without being thrown in jail for it.

As to the balance of power, it's a very, very vague question. Which power? Political, economical, cultural, military...? How many sides are there? What's "too far"? Compared to what? In the US? Europe? China? Singapore?

It is a matter of personal preference. I view keeping the balance of good v. evil, the environment v. capitalism, etc., etc, as equals. Whenever the balance shifts too far to one side bad things happen - global warming, the elimination of human rights, martial law, economic downfall, etc. It's something like yin and yank, the light and dark side - as long as they are kept balanced, the world is fine. Tip it too far in either direction (even good!) and problems occur. I was speaking alittle philosophically, but trying to keep the discussion bounded to politics, although my position applies broadly to many things.

You missed two all-important questions

I had assumed the reader would ask them, implicitly, however you are correct.

Cultural? Debatable, but Internet certainly did major things to culture, in the US at least.

I'd debate that with you, but I don't have enough space in this comment box. :)

I have a suspicion that keeping one's head down to stay under the radar is going to become a lifelong habit...

For you? Me? People in general? It's largely true that people don't want to rock the boat. Some people are exceptional, but most just follow the herd.

There is no evidence of a massive crackdown (in the West, again)

4 words: Digital Millenium Copyright Act. I rest my case.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

We're all doomed! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by Kaa on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 10:09:16 AM EST

[re *tap* *tap*] I'm not living in a free society if I can't voice my opinion without being thrown in jail for it.

All I had in mind was a reference to the fact that in olden times prisoners in jail used to communicate by tapping on the walls. Didn't you read "Count Monte Cristo"?

I view keeping the balance of good v. evil, the environment v. capitalism, etc., etc, as equals.

Ah! A true Neutral Neutral. No problems here, but the real question, of course, is where do you believe the point of the balance to be. It's isn't necessarily at status quo, right?

[keeping one's head down] For you? Me? People in general?

People in general. You were advising people not to rock the boat *now*, saying the proper time will come. I pointed out that conformity can get to be a lifelong habit. "If you are not a rebel at 20, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 40, you have no brain".

[re impending doom] 4 words: Digital Millenium Copyright Act. I rest my case.

Ouch. Still, the Man always likes to have some laws that everybody breaks just by breathing so that troublemakers can be brought in line easily enough. This is just more of the same. Anyway, this law is not really about suppression of malcontents, it's about transfer of wealth from public to copyright holders, mostly corporations.

Now, I recently read the draft of computer crime treaty prepared by the Europeans (with active US participation) and that thing is much more nasty. Walk by a computer thinking impure thoughts and you're toast. The Slashdot discussion was not particulary well-informed, but if you go to the source and read it, it's frightening enough.

So, yeah, I see your point.

Kaa
Kaa's Law: In any sufficiently large group of people most are idiots.


[ Parent ]
Crack smoking, and it's evils//// (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by Red Moose on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 12:47:56 AM EST

DMCA doesn't apply to countries outside the US (which therefore includes my country), I think. Laws regarding such aspects of tehcnologicla developments always fall short of the amrk, hence why it has done almost zero to stop copyright theft, etc., (along with the rest of the political banter it includes).

There is nothing as stringent as the Gail Thackeray (et al) law enforcements at the start of the 90's that have rocked the boat (to use your own words) in such a fashion as to actually disturb the status quo of the "hacker-kingdom".

In my opinion, there are far less of the old-sk00l <shudder> type; the crackers, the l33t grafx, etc., than there used to be. The whole hacker thing these days is more of a joke than ever before, given that no group of hackers has exploited a security flaw to take down something worthwhile, like the AT&T, or whoever. Show me the evidence that this new generation can do something, and you'll have support; but as far as I can see, it's lamer than it ever was. When was the last time something gebuinely big happened due to "hackers"? Yahoo being down for 4 hours doesn't count. Most people probably couldn't give a flying fuck in a rolling donut *how* many websites are taken down. Look at 2600 if you want. And speaking of that, *that* mag has also gone to shit in recent times; most people, in my opinion, don't "just follow the herd"; they just don't care. Why bother? The world still turns. Things move on.

[ Parent ]

Huh?? (1.00 / 1) (#90)
by scheme on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 01:58:15 PM EST

It is a matter of personal preference. I view keeping the balance of good v. evil, the environment v. capitalism, etc., etc, as equals. Whenever the balance shifts too far to one side bad things happen - global warming, the elimination of human rights, martial law, economic downfall, etc. It's something like yin and yank, the light and dark side - as long as they are kept balanced, the world is fine. Tip it too far in either direction (even good!) and problems occur.

That's a pretty philosophically untenable position to hold. Although the balance between industrial growth and environmenal concerns is needed, why should good and evil be balanced. You are asserting that any joy in the world should be balanced by suffering yet offer no justification for the position. What are the benefits of having evil/suffering in the world? Why would too much good be bad? Especially given the definitions of good and evil.

4 words: Digital Millenium Copyright Act. I rest my case.

The DMCA hardly counts as a crackdown. At best it places undue restrictions on people and gives copyright holders too many powers but it isn't a crackdown. The DMCA isn't even all that scary compared to the Alien and Sedition Acts, or the Comstock Laws.


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein


[ Parent ]
Not Quite (none / 0) (#91)
by scheme on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 02:15:49 PM EST

It's no suprise that all modern crusades have been suspect, and railed against. In the 60's it was the free speech movement. In the 70's it was the communists. In the 80's it was corporations, and in the 90's it was the computer hacker.

The modern crusades of the 70's wasn't communism. The 50's would be a better example of an era where communism and communists were hunted down by society at large and by groups such as HUAC. The major movement of the 60s would probably be considered the civil rights movement, by free speech movement(?) I take it you are refering to hippies but that was primarily limited to the white middle class. Also I would consider antiwar and black power movements to be the major crusades of the 70s.

I believe the reason we are seeing our rights taken away is because of economic prosperity. People are content, America has changed little in the past 10 years. There is no growth, we have stagnated. As a result, people have become super-suspect of crusades. Why do they need their rights? What are they hiding?

The time for change will come when this country (the US) faces an economic downturn. Then the invisible framework will come crashing down. People will clamor for change - they will clamor for a return to the prosperity they had before.

Economic prosperity is typically the time when people are willing to extend rights to minority and marginalized groups. They aren't feeling threatened and thus are willing to be generous with others.

Economic downturns and hard times are the times when rights tend to be taken away with the justification that it is necessary to get good times back. For example consider the Supreme Court's ruling against Lincoln (ex parte Milligan) during the civil war, the activities of the OSS during WWII, the laws against sedition during WWI, the internment of Japanese citizens during WWII, and the Supreme Court's rulings against FDR during the Depression.


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein


[ Parent ]
Q: Why do just tech workers have this power? (4.00 / 8) (#28)
by duxup on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 03:24:56 PM EST

A: They don't.

I disagree that somehow just some hackers have this ability. It's not they who have that power by being hackers. Technology gave it to them. Just as easily any mildly intelligent accountants could sabotage the records of those fortune 500 companies, either by destroying, or more quietly producing inaccurate data. I would even propose that some organized janitors or rental cops given a little training could wreak some serious havoc. It's not the hacker's skill that gives him power, it's the vulnerability of technology

Also I don't believe any them have that power unless they were organized. Who do you suggest these people would follow? You? I don't see anyone with a cause that would convince people to commit such acts and absorb the possible consequences. Then what would happen, would we gain power and change government? How? What would we change and would we agree on anything to change?

On a side note I find the suggestion that you sight fortune 500 sysadmins walking off the job laughable. It takes a ton of people that would qualify as sysadmins to run the many networks that each company has. First you'd have to convince most of them to walk off. Second if you've ever worked with them (I have with several for quite some time now) you'd not mistake these people for hackers :-)

your vote doesn't count (1.00 / 4) (#45)
by enterfornone on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 06:55:04 PM EST

Because you vote for nader and browne and because there really aren't that many of you, gore and bush don't have to worry about winning your vote.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Missed point (4.00 / 3) (#48)
by maarken on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:04:27 PM EST

This has nothing to do with who you vote for really. I was just showing that geeks like to tweak the nose of government and/or go against the grain.

--Maarken
Flip the symbols in my email.
[ Parent ]
true (1.00 / 1) (#49)
by enterfornone on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 09:14:36 PM EST

my point was that it doesn't make a difference

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Please explain (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by Phil the Canuck on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 02:52:15 PM EST

I don't understand this US concept of "I'm throwing away my vote if I don't vote mainstream". Frankly, it drives me nuts.

Is it the American (as in US) love affair with winners? I have the opportunity to speak with many US friends on a daily basis, and a recurring election theme is "I don't like either of the two candidates, I'll just have to vote for the lesser of evils."

I wish that the citizens of the US (all of them) would, just once, try voting according to issues. Vote for the candidate that most closely represents their views, regardless of how likely they are to win. You can never "throw away" a vote when you do this.

------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

winner takes all (none / 0) (#88)
by enterfornone on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 04:46:56 AM EST

first, I'm not an american, and here (Australia) I generally do vote for smaller parties (giving preferences to the lesser of two evils)

but in the american system you don't have preferences, so unless the candidate you vote for is in the running (ie bush or gore) your vote is wasted.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
'Hackers' are who? (4.12 / 8) (#46)
by DefCon5 on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 06:55:58 PM EST

I think the point you are driving at relate to whole bodies of workers in the information economy, not just geeks who know code and their machines. It could be a secretary with strong skills at Excel. All these people share one thing in common: They have skills that are inseperable from their person. If they leave or get fired (or go on strike), depending on how much the organization depends on them, they can carry a lot of weight. One such example was the Boeing strike a year or two back. One of the largest and most powerful companies in the world buckled after a few weeks of striking by their skilled machinests and engineers, and the union later walked away with a 20 percent pay increase for their workers.

However, I think you need to be careful. One of the most potent tools the system has is the ability to integrate dissent or threats to power into the system. History has shown this time and time again. The Romans persecuted the Christians who then an anti-authoritarian sect, but as their ideals increased in popularity, the Christian movement was institutionalized, and soon thereafter the Christians were persecuting everyone else. The revolution in Russia was popular at the time, but as soon as Lenin and Trotsky got their power, they demolished the democratic movements that were then taking form, and Stalin followed soon thereafter. The many people (read, the Clinton liberals) who protested during Vietnam, are now established into the overlying system, if they have not become the new oppressors, they have quietly submitted themselves to the system. They gain the power, but then they seek to hold that power at the expense of others. We can already see this in the workplace. Geeks get promoted into management positions, and the next thing we know, the guy we used to share code with, and who used to be so seemingly free and open-source, has become as autocratic as the bosses he used to bitch about. He got his, and he sure isn't going to rock the boat. His dissent flair vanished as rapidly and the increase in his new pay raise. Why should the newly established tech elite behave any differently?

Minor correction (none / 0) (#92)
by unusualPerspective on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 04:16:37 PM EST

The Boeing machinists union and SPEA (the enigineer's union) are two different entities. The machinists strike was a copule years ago. Boeing caved real quick, because the machinist have an immediate, significant impact on production. The engineers went on stike earlier this year (or late last year) and were out for a couple months. The impact was less imediate, so Boeing held out for a while, and the engineers actually got less pay raise/benefits than they wanted.

[ Parent ]
Who is John Galt? (2.85 / 7) (#55)
by skim123 on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 04:16:10 AM EST

Think what would happen if the sysadmins at some key Fortune 500 companies decided to strike, or just go on a surprise vacation

Read Atlas Shrugged, it talks about this exactly, about the people working for the existing power class, who were/are ignorant leeches, those who pandered to the lowest common denominator and encouraged the welfare state.

Sorry to go off on a bit of a rant like that, but "Atlas Shrugged is about a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did."

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


ugh, don't read Atlas Shrugged... (1.80 / 5) (#78)
by delmoi on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 10:38:24 PM EST

It's to bad that K5 got rid of the whole AC thing. If they haddn't, I would have posted a one line reply saying "I hope you die". I don't really hope you die, but if you are the Randite that your post would lead me to belive you are, I would hope that you might some day grow up and get a clue.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
ugh, don't generalize and stereotype (3.75 / 4) (#85)
by skim123 on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 01:13:56 AM EST

It's to bad that K5 got rid of the whole AC thing. If they haddn't, I would have posted a one line reply saying "I hope you die". I don't really hope you die, but if you are the Randite that your post would lead me to belive you are, I would hope that you might some day grow up and get a clue

And I would hope that someday you might grow up and realize that intelligence and generalizing and stereotyping a person are members of two disjoint sets.

I hope you have read Atlas Shrugged (and other Rand books), because if you haven't your statement is out of pure ignorance. Furthermore, you shouldn't encourage others not to read a book that espouses a philosophy that you disagree with. Rather, if your philosophy is right, encourage them to read the book, think rationally about it, and come to their own conclusions.

Why don't you just go back to Slashdot. Please. You can do all the AC posting you want there.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
book recomendations (none / 0) (#93)
by delmoi on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 12:46:30 PM EST

I wouldn't recommend the book for the same reasons I wouldn't reccommend or read any other book. It's supposed to be a really bad book.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
The poll, and telling the truth (3.50 / 2) (#58)
by Aquarius on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 08:11:57 AM EST

I'd like to think that I'd walk off the job to get the attention of the government, but I wouldn't. I said "No", because, even though there are things about which I have principles, there are other things too, like needing to have a job. Principles are a fine thing, but I'm afraid that I'd bow before the need for money and stability.

So I'm no kind of revolutionary. So I'm a corporate whore. Probably. Still, that's the way it is. All that's needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, which is probably true, but all that's needed for me to eat is to have a job. When people start paying me to do my hobbies, I'll quit. Until then I'm a wage slave, just like most other people.

Aq.


"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
Get real (4.11 / 9) (#59)
by Frigorific on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 08:28:33 AM EST

We are a small group of voters, the main presidential canidates have no interest in us. In general, we are rich white guys, and therefore not a minority in the classic sense (based on race/religion), and from what I've seen, we don't generally make political waves (in terms of lobbying, demonstrations, and other such activities). Why would the presidential canidates talk about an "issue" that would only win them the hacker vote and very possibly turn off a large number of regular joes who think that the internet is the main corrupting force in their children's lives? "Give the people what they want" is the motto for getting elected, and right now, the people don't want pandering to the hacker class...
Who is John Galt? Rather, who is Vasilios Hoffman?
no political waves? (none / 0) (#81)
by krogoth on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 11:22:05 PM EST

>>>we don't generally make political waves (in terms of lobbying, demonstrations, and other such activities).<<< Maybe every programmer didn't go out an put up and anti-MPAA poster at their local movie theatre (i didn't), but I think it's just that most people don't hear about us. When the government does something wrong and a large group of people complain about it, you will hear about it, but what do you hear about DeCSS, and the plan to distribute the source at the court?
--
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
:wq
[ Parent ]
But are there enough of us? (3.50 / 2) (#63)
by PhadeRunner on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 12:14:13 PM EST

I agree, in part, with what this article is saying. I agree that politicians will find it increasingly difficult to pull the wool over the eyes of the new informed generation.

My question is, are there enough of this new informed "Hacker" generation? In the article it states:

For centuries that pin has been the lower middle class, i.e. plebs, serfs, factory workers, etc. Relatively unskilled and minimally educated people that, so long as they were happy and fed, were relatively satisfied.

In my opinion the number of these people still far outweigh the lot of the newer informed "counter culture" people like ourselves. Remember, it doesn't matter how well informed, educated and powerful (in terms of information access) you are you are still only one person and therefore one vote.

As they said at the time.... (1.00 / 1) (#80)
by krogoth on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 11:18:50 PM EST

"The workers control the means of the production". With the right setup, one person could decide if the world worked or not (although human history shows they would last aproximately 2 seconds more than windows can run without crashing), because he or she has the switch for everything we depend on. Most of our modern economy and life is based on technology, so any organized action by a large percentage of the people who have the most control over the essential technology has more power than everyone else in the world (or at least the "developped" countries).
--
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
:wq
[ Parent ]
OT: Sig11 (3.50 / 4) (#67)
by rednecktek on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 02:39:15 PM EST

I mean, here you have a guy (Signal_11), who I've talked to, and is quite intelligent, that's voting for Nader, not because he likes him, or because he believes in him or his policies, but because he just wants to different, and tweak the nose of the two main dorks.

I hope (if this true), that you (and everyone) will vote your conscience, not your vengence. BTW, I appreciate that you're voting for Nader (so am I), but not if you don't believe in candidate.

Just remember, if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. (2.16 / 6) (#73)
by dieman on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 07:32:22 PM EST

Who cares, this doesn't bring anything new to the table!
---
blah
Oh? (4.00 / 4) (#74)
by maarken on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 08:15:30 PM EST

Sorry if you think so. I never saw this topic on here before, so I thought I'd post it. If you think it's old news, vote -1, and go on about your life. No skin off my nose.


--Maarken
Flip the symbols in my email.
[ Parent ]
Be different for a reason... (4.33 / 3) (#89)
by calmncool on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 06:31:40 AM EST

...let not the reason be difference. Sure we're the linchpins today. and we're better educated than the linchpins of the past. But just because we twiddle around with computers does not make us any more intelligent than people who choose other professions. Our maturity (or rather the lack of it) is reflected by the fact that we beg for attention by fingering our noses in public. My parents are middle class and not too versatile with computers. They were the lichpins of yesterday. and they leveraged their positions by helping to try make things better. I'd be happy if I can achieve even a fraction of what they've done for the society. -A
---------- What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?
Hacker Age is here! | 93 comments (41 topical, 52 editorial, 1 hidden)
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