Varoufakis on Valve, Spontaneous Order, and the European Crisis
I got this link from Slashdot, a good source for the latest news in the software world. And this one is especially good, loaded with information.
I used to think software development contained skills that would be useful for the rest of the world. That people who were skilled there had skills that would help save the world. I found out that this was not the case. That software development is a kind of black hole that sucks in resources from the world without giving anything back.
Its product, software (especially networked software), is the biggest problem we have ever had – and from which we are unlikely to recover. Humans are addicts and Software products have become our most latest addiction. In Costa Rica, for example, the cell phone has taken over, and people spend a lot of time with them – which subtracts from their time with each other.
Computer gaming is one of those addictions that appeals especially to the young. I have a nephew who is completely addicted – and works for a gaming software development company in Austen, Texas. He gets treated like a piece of machinery – which, in effect he is. He ships their product – strictly a routine matter, done over the Internet.
His mother tells me he keeps hoping his company will give him a better job. But that will never happen. He is perfect for the job he has – where he never has to think. A software developer has to think all the time – but think like a computer. Outside of his specialty, he knows nothing.
This article is about a software development company, Valve, that is different. So different it is useless to explain it to people in backward countries – such as Costa Rica, where I live. Or, for that matter, to most people in America – who are as ignorant as mud – and determined to stay that way. Largely, as I keep saying, because they have been steamrollered by over-development – and longer exist as people at all.
Valve was started by two men who were committed to anarcho-syndicalism as a way of life and a way of production – post-industrial production – software production. The podcast, by the Library of Economics and Liberty, interviews Yanis Varoufakis, who worked with Valve and got to understand how it worked.
Varoufakis is a study in himself. He is an economist , a native of Greece, but now with the University of Texas. He has some nasty things to say about Greece, the EU, and the economics profession – and much of the podcast (an hour long) is about that. He is saying – as many other experts have been saying, that the Euro crisis is far from over and will probably end an serious economic crisis that will effect the whole world.
But the main subject of interest, anarcho-syndicalism at Valve, is really fascinating. It seems to be an very advanced way of running a company – based on a very old idea going back to the mid-19th Century in France. It could never work in the Industrialized world – but it might work in the Post-industrial world.
It might even be the only method that works – as the world is headed into anarchy.
I can hear you now – asking me to explain it – in about six seconds. Tough luck, you got to learn it for yourself, and Yanis’s explanation is a good place to start.
Don’t expect it to be easy.