Communist Ideology Creep in Tech
Communist ideology creeping into the Creator Economy thought leadership pieces is cause for concern. Crypto is a libertarian dream, not a communist one. One must remember that Bitcoin was introduced to the world in response to the global financial crisis of 2008. Remember 2008? The narrative pivoted since then with the constant framing of worker vs factory/platform, which should make one pause.
One of the more prominent voices in the Creator Economy space is Li Jin, a communist-curious VC. By prominent, I simply mean that she gets better coverage than most. Li Jin made waves when she was quoted in an uncharacteristically glowing profile of her in the NYT, on how she was “inspired by the ideas of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.”
Considering that Venture Capitalists are one of the more extreme manifestations of capitalism, it is no wonder that other VC's were aghast by the article. NYT isn't what it used to be, so we can be forgiven if we ignore some of their fluff pieces.
This was the beginning of a choregraphed campaign introducing communist terminology into VC lexicon. An article published in the Harvard Business Review titled, A Labor Movement for the Platform Economy was penned by Li Jin along with Scott Kominers and Lila Shroff.
I will now go through the article's interesting passages.
Here the claim is that participation is decentralized, making it harder to connect, ignoring social media and even the example used in the same article's first paragraph about DoorDash drivers effectively organizing on FB 😕
It also touts the accomplishments of unions, ignoring decades of dwindling impact by the labor union in the US economy. Unions have done squat for racial inequality since the 70's, or assimilating immigrants, or giving a political voice to low-income workers. They're failing.
This is where it gets disingenuous at best, because just as well, stakeholders can be concentrated in a small group of people who are holding the ownership/voting rights tokens. But yeah let's blame top performing creators on YT for not caring about their smaller counterparts..
The authors here posit that the reason why cooperatives have not been as prevalent and successful is that it is logistically too difficult to attract capital. Ok, so cue the "crypto is the solution".
No? Okay, please explain to me how this is any different from the top founders, early adopters of any new DAO or any decentralized project holding all the keys?
To the authors' credit, they at the very least recognize the dangers of regulations. Regulations will have unintended consequences and should be used as a last resort. This is as a good rule of thumb as any.
The dangers of overselling the benefits of decentralized trustless networks is that you end up not affecting any change at all, once faced with the crushing disappointment.