I just read “The Californian Ideology” by Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron - written all the way back in 1995. It’s well worth the read though as it could just have been written today. It describes a major mainstream sub-culture of the technophiles who feel that all of life’s problems can be solved in through science and good design. I think it’s apt to look at this while in the mindset of Post-Scarcity, so we can see the give-and-take relationship between these two concepts.
This new “Ideology” represents a fusion of Hippies and Entrepreneur / Nerds, and somehow reconciles the former’s commune / anarchy with the latter’s techno-libertarian / free-market.
The article says that there’s an increased blending of both cultures - that this NYTimes article points to as hipsters-come-salesmen. We’ve seen the hippy-shunned Organization Man give way to a “Virtual Class” as they put it (this was before Richard Florida’s Creative Class interestingly) that were composed of these hippy-leaning artists, writers, and programmers. This class is increasingly becoming more powerful and able to demand very favorable / relexed working conditions (just look at what Google provides today!) which the authors see as blurring the lines between mainstream and counter-culture views on work.
The democratization of media (a la Marshall McLuhan) was supposed to be this massive force of good - as he put it, “electronic media would breakdown old orders”, but this hasn’t materialized. Instead, we see the same old forces of capitalism using it - but this time the creatives are brought fully into the fold. This at the same time still suppressing the change embodied by the very people building this culture under contract: the BoBos themselves.
An interesting side note is that they look at how much the government has helped this movement (the first computer / internet funding, etc.) while at the same time the group eschews. They point out many such paradoxes - like “Internet Apartheid” of the lower classes being the least to benefit from IT - making the gap all the larger. Looking to a country like France, they say, you’ll see a lot more pro-government rhetoric in these classes that the “California Ideology” that is more consistent with the relaties that should be encouraged, but that the Europeans could use some of the zeal of the West Coasters.