Latest...

'The Inhumanist Manifesto', Media Theory, Vol. 1, No.1, 2017.

The Uberfication of the University (Open access Forerunners series version available here; as of April 4 2017 an interactive Manifold series version is available here.)

Públicos Fantasma - La Naturaleza Política Del Libro - La Red (Mexico: Taller de Ediciones Económicas, 2016) - new book, co-authored with Andrew Murphie, Janneke Adema and Alessandro Ludovico. 

'Posthumanities: The Dark Side of "The Dark Side of the Digital"' (with Janneke Adema), in Janneke Adema and Gary Hall, eds, Disrupting the Humanities: Towards Posthumanities, Journal of Electronic PublishingVol. 9, No.2, Winter, 2016.

Open Access

Most of Gary's work is freely available to read and download either here in Media Gifts or in Coventry University's online repository CURVE here 

performative project Janneke Adema has put together, based on our ‘The Political Nature of the Book: On Artists’ Books and Radical Open Access’ article for New Formations, Number 78, Summer, 2013. 

'What Does Academia.edu's Success Mean for Open Access: The Data-Driven World of Search Engines and Social Networking', Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, no.5, 2015.

Radical Open Access network

Wednesday
Dec072016

Data Commonism: Introduction

(This is the first of a series of posts in which I provide ten proposals as to how to affirmatively disrupt the disruptors of ubercapitalism and the corporate sharing economy: Uber, Airbnb et al. Together these posts constitute the draft of a text provisionally titled Data Commonism, designed to follow on from my recently published short book, The Uberfication of the University. If the latter provides a dystopian sense of what is lying in store for many us over the course of the next few years, Data Commonism is more optimistic in that it shows what we can do about it. 

The Uberfication of the University is available from Minnesota University Press here. An open access version is available here.)

 

In his essay on “The Political Technology of Individuals,” Michel Foucault notes how those profound moments of social change that have produced “institutions oriented toward the care of individual life--the great welfare, public health and medical assistance programs”--have often co-existed in political structures with “large destructive mechanisms.” The Industrial Revolution saw the introduction of compulsory primary school education, while the immediate period after the Second World War heralded the development in the United Kingdom of both the NHS and the welfare state--the latter two being precisely the kind of public service institutions that are currently being starved of funding and gradually privatized

Now our own era is of course far from free of the dangers posed by large destructive mechanisms. There are disruptive innovations in new digital technologies, including those associated with networked social, mobile, and interactive media, as well as artificial intelligence, gene editing, pre-emptive, cognitive, and contextual computing. The result is expected to be a cull of large numbers of middle-class jobs in the global North and West, with very little to put in their place. Indeed, a 2016 World Economic Forum report estimates that by 2020 technology will have created 2 million jobs but displaced 7 million. (It should be emphasized that sweat-shop and slave labor will still be required in the global South and East nonetheless to build the hardware and mine the minerals that digital technologies such as iPhones are made from.) Richard Florida describes the situation rather ominously as “the great reset.”  From this point of view, Uber assumes the appearance of a “dry-run for autonomous, ever-circling, point-to-point fleet vehicles in which humans stand in for the robots to come.” Such a lack of paid employment--a situation characterised by some as “post-work”--combined with the associated falling value of labor, could quite conceivably lead to the breakdown of Western consumer capitalism if there is no system of finance capable of continuing to extend credit, or universal basic income (as is being introduced in Utrecht and a number of other municipalities in the Netherlands, and is being considered for adoption as a policy by the U.K. Labour Party), to sustain the purchasing power of large swathes of the population now rendered surplus to requirements. In February 2016 the Office for National Statistics was already reporting a decline in the quantity of material consumed in the United Kingdom: down to 659.1m tonnes in 2013 (10.3 tonnes per person) from a peak of 889.9m tonnes in 2001 (15.1 tonnes per person). As Steve Howard, head of sustainability for Ikea puts it: “If we look on a global basis, in the West we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff… peak home furnishings.” (The recycle-repair-reuse approach of certain elements of the sharing economy can be viewed as one response to “peak stuff.” So too can the wider shift to a more circular economy in which products are mended and reused rather than repeatedly bought, thrown away, and then bought again. The Swedish government is even planning to introduce tax breaks on the cost of fixing bicycles, fridges, washing machines and other goods to encourage such a culture of “repair” rather than “replace.”) 

Other large destructive mechanisms include the ongoing financial crisis in many parts of the world, as evident in the waning of the political and economic hegemony of the United States, those policies imposed in the name of “austerity” in Europe and the United Kingdom to defend the neoliberal order after the crisis of 2008, mass unemployment in southern Europe, the financial collapse in Greece, the marked slowing down of growth in China, and the slump in the price of oil and steel. 

There is also the “democratic deficit,” whereby citizens in established democracies are increasingly alienated from a technocratic class that is no longer seen as being able to manage neoliberal globalisation, increasing inequality having resulted in large sections of the population feeling they have been left behind while an elite minority have prospered. This disaffection has led to the election victories of Syriza in Greece, the popularity of Podemos in Spain, the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon in the U.K., as well as the emergence of a range of “horizontal” movements for social justice and more egalitarian economic models, both local and global in nature. I am thinking of the Occupy, indignados, and Nuit debout protests in particular. But there is also the opposition to neoliberal globalization in favour of an emphasis on place, nation and borders that has seen a revival of the far right. This has led to the post-fact, post-truth, hyper-emotive politics and populist distrust of experts that was such a feature of the nostalgic nationalism of the 2016 Brexit campaign in Britain, and presidential election victory of Donald Trump in the United States.

Still, while Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, may have predicted that the “‘Anglo-Saxon’ crisis of 2008-09” and subsequent “‘Euro-Area’ crisis of 2011/2012” is due to be followed by an “‘Emerging Market’ crisis of 2015 onwards,” what we have seen so far, primarily, is a continued belief in “pro-growth” capitalism as the only game in town. To be sure, stock markets fell sharply in China, Germany, and France at the beginning of 2016. Coupled to instability in the Middle East, specifically the possibility of conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, this led the then U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to describe 2016 as less “mission accomplished” when it comes to the economy recovering from austerity and more as “mission critical.” And, if anything, this is all the more the case almost a year later, given there is now the influx of refuges from Syria and Iraq, the terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in France, Belgium, and Germany, the possibility of war with Russia over the Crimea, and instability of Turkey to consider too. Nevertheless, if Syrizia, Podemos, and Corbynmania--not to mention Brexit and Trump--are all evidence that a mental break with neoliberalism has occurred after the financial crash of 2008, it has not as yet been accompanied by a decisive political, economic or cultural break. Witness the way British prime minister Theresa May is currently arguing that a free-trading U.K. can lead on developing solutions to anti-neoliberal and anti-globalisation sentiments from outside of the E.U. May wants to save the neoliberal order from the reactionary populism of Trump and UKIP’s Nigel Farage by renewing its legitimacy in the 21st century. And the way she wants to do this is by using the power of the state to steer the shift from old industries to new ones.

Part of the difficulty, as Felix Stalder notes, lies “in assessing when a ‘certain stage’ is reached in historical reality” in which one can tell whether such destruction “acts--as it does in normal times--as the engine of capitalist innovation (Joseph Schumpeter style), or, if it is already at the point where it harbours something deeper, a structural crisis of the system as such.” Certainly, as Stalder says, it remains to be seen if any of these developments affects the “entire system or just certain segments that might be reorganised through another mode of production, parallel to, or subsumed under, the capitalist mode.” For example, does the oligarchic economic nationalism of Trump in the U.S., Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary, indicate that we have entered a new era of post-neoliberal politics, as some commentators are claiming? Is it a reactionary spasm presaging the system’s immanent collapse—not just the death throws of the free market, then, but of capitalism itself?  Or is it just a new iteration of global capitalism?

The situation is further complicated by the fact that ideas about large destructive events often contain an element of fantasy--serving to reassure us it is indeed still possible to conceive of an end to capitalism, to offer just one example. (Nowhere is the latter more apparent today than in many theories of the Anthropocene.) Yet even if none of these large destructive mechanisms does represent a structural crisis capable of affecting the entire capitalist system, the question still arises: do any of them at least have the potential to be comparable to those Foucault identifies? And if they do, how likely is it that they too will be accompanied by large-scale social change? Suppose one of the technological, political, or environmental crises of our time--the Zika virus, to provide a still further example, which is being spread in Latin America and the Caribbean by mosquitos whose range is expanding as the climate heats up--does grow to become equivalent in its effects to those produced by the Industrial Revolution. (In the case of Zika, this could take the form of a world separated into different geographic zones: those free from extremes of disease and pollution in which it is safe for women to get pregnant and those that are not, the former being inhabited by the wealthy, the latter by the poor.) Imagine it does so even to the extent of producing the kind of future an accelerationist politics looks toward. In such a scenario, the gains of late capitalism and the particular technosocial innovations that have historically typified it are not reversed. Instead, they are reprogrammed beyond those capitalism’s “value system, governance structures, and mass pathologies” currently allow--until capitalism reaches a point where it has to either develop a host of more Commons-based, post-work, post-carbon practices, or self-combust via a process of “slow fragmentation towards primitivism, perpetual crisis, and planetary ecological collapse.” From this point of view, “the material platform of neoliberalism does not need to be destroyed. It needs to be repurposed towards common ends. The existing infrastructure is not a capitalist stage to be smashed, but a springboard to launch towards post-capitalism.”   Yet what if that does happen? There is still no guarantee such a large destructive mechanism will coexist in our political structures with a moment of profound social transformation oriented toward the care of life. Neoliberal ubercapitalism winning out still further over welfare, public health, and medical assistance programs is as possible a future as any strengthening of the social, be it post-capitalist, neo-socialist, or liberal democratic in orientation. The Commons and a Universal Basic Income are both ideas that have neoliberal supporters, for instance. Granted, socialists see the Commons as an alternative to privatization, commodification and to corporate trade. But by the same token, for free marketeers the Commons represents an alternative to state regulation and centralized bureaucracy. 

Yet Foucault is careful not to suggest in “The Political Technology of Individuals” there is a causal link that creates the “coincidence” by which “life insurance is connected with a death command:” that the one is the effect, the result, of the other.  In that case our only hope would be to wait for the kind of special circumstances that are more or less comparable to those generated by a world war before something even approaching a 21st century equivalent to the 1870 Education Act or 1946 NHS Act could be introduced, let alone a form of society developed that goes beyond the all-pervasive algorithmic surveillance and control of the market and its metrics. (The quickening of climate change and the irreversible transformation of our bio- and geo-sphere, say, or the discovery and exploitation of a new world--the kind of thing that might result if we developed the ability to mine planets or asteroids, say.) So are there things we can do right here, right now, to affirmatively disrupt the disruptors of the for-profit sharing economy with a view to beginning the process of inventing a different, more caring future--not just for the university, the sharing economy, or even for post-industrial society, as I said in The Uberfication of the University, but for “individual life” too--while at the same time being aware that there is no certainty doing so will achieve a structural transformation, and that such changes will not end up simply being subsumed under the capitalist mode? 

Friday
Nov182016

Pirate Philosophy and Post-Capitalism: Podcast

In this podcast interview for Mark Carrigan and Sociological Imagination, I argue that if we are to move to a post-capitalist society, we need to experiment with new ways of working that are based less on ideas of self-centred individualism, competition and celebrity, and more on openness, collaboration and the gift. The university is somewhere we can actualise such alternative modes of being and doing, as it is one of the few spaces in post-industrial society where the forces of contemporary neoliberalism are still being overtly opposed, to a certain extent at least. A persona I propose we adopt in order to do so is that of the pirate, this being someone who tries, teases and troubles as well as attacks our existing economic, legal and political models.

 

Monday
Oct172016

Writing, Medium, Machine: Modern Technographies - new OA book from Open Humanities

We're delighted to announce the first book in Open Humanities Press' new Technographies series, which is edited by Steven Connor, James Purdon and David Trotter.

Writing, Medium, Machine: Modern Technographies, edited by Sean Pryor and David Trotter, is a collection of thirteen essays by leading scholars which explores the mutual determination of forms of writing and forms of technology in modern literature. The essays unfold from a variety of historical and theoretical perspectives the proposition that literature is not less but more mechanical than other forms of writing: a transfigurative ideal machine.

Contributors: Ruth Abbott, John Attridge, Kasia Boddy, Mark Byron, Beci Carver, Steven Connor, Esther Leslie, Robbie Moore, Julian Murphet, James Purdon, Sean Pryor, Paul Sheehan, Kristen Treen.

 

Please consider ordering a copy for your university library to help support radical open access.

Monday
Oct102016

Open Research Workshop, Goldsmiths, University of London

Open research is much more than open access. It is about all aspects of the research process open to all possible interested parties. It involves innovative approaches to communicating, researching and sharing outputs. It is about accessability, inclusivity, citizen science, public engagement, radical transparency, reproducibility, data sharing, social media and more. Supported by the British Academy, this Open Research Workshop aims to inspire and educate researchers across all disciplines on how to benefit from opening up their research. Attendance is free, with free lunch, a free wine reception and great prizes to be won. 

 

Keynotes (10 AM - 1 PM)

The morning session will feature short keynotes from champions of open research, including:

Jo Barratt – Project manager of Open Knowledge Foundation Frictionless Data project

Mark Carrigan – Sociologist & author of the book Social Media for Academics

Sophia Collins – Founder of the Nappy Science Gang, a citizen science project that changed NHS policy.

Gary Hall – Founder of the Open Humanities Press & author of Digitize this book (2008), Pirate Philosophy (2016) & The Uberfication of the University (2016)

Simon Makin - Former neuroscientist turned science journalist who writes for Nature, Scientific American & New Scientist.

& others to be confirmed 

Hackathon (1 PM - 5 PM)

The afternoon session will be organised as a “hackathon”. Keynote speakers and other experts will run hands-on workshops on a range of practical topics and be available to provide 1-on-1 advice.  

Working in teams or individually attendees have 4 hours to take concrete steps to make their own research more open. Ideas include sharing a dataset, setting up a research blog or project website, planning an engagement project, pitching a news article, or creating a video biography or a podcast.

There are prizes for everyone who gives a presentation or uploads a project idea to conference website and several grand prizes for the judges’ and audience’s favourite ideas. 

Presentations, prizes and wine reception (5 PM - 7 PM)

Judging panel chaired by Professor Nigel Vincent FBA, former British Academy Vice President for Research & HE Policy

Part of Open Access Week, 2016

Wednesday
Sep212016

The Uberfication of the University: Interview with Inside Higher Education

The following is an interview by Scott Jashchik of Inside Higher Education, following the publication of my new book, The Uberfication of the University (Minnesota UP, 2016). For anyone who wants one, an open acess version of the book is also available here.

----

How much do Uber, Airbnb and other elements of the "sharing economy" explain the state of higher education? Quite a lot, according to Gary Hall, professor of media and performing arts at Coventry University, in Britain. He outlines his views in The Uberfication of the University, a short book (55 pages) published as part of the University of Minnesota Press Forerunners series on new ideas. Hall responded via email to questions about his book.

Q: Many of the trends you reference (reliance on adjuncts who lack job security, state disinvestment in higher education) predate Uber and the sharing economy. How do such trends relate to the sharing economy?

A: You’re right, many of the trends I refer to in The Uberfication of the University did not originate with the corporate sharing economy. I’m thinking here of those predatory and parasitical practices whereby we are increasingly being transformed into atomized, precarious individuals operating in an environment in which we’re being gradually divested of employment rights, public services and a social safety net. They include the outsourcing of work to independent contractors, freelancers and temps in order to circumvent labor laws that set minimum standards. Such trends are of course present in many other areas of the economy and society. (A recent inquiry by the government’s business select committee into working practices at Britain's largest sporting retailer, Sports Direct, likens them to those of a "Victorian workhouse.")

What I’m interested in is how neoliberalism has not become unviable after the financial crash of 2008, but has actually intensified in many respects. The reason for focusing on the emergence of the for-profit sharing economy over this period is because it’s one of the places where the implications for workers of such an intensification are today most apparent. We could even go so far as to categorize this change in terms of a transition to an übercapitalist society. Übercapitalist, in that this historically specific version of neoliberalism, whereby social democracy, the welfare state and public sector (i.e., universities, hospitals, prisons, the police, armed forces, postal service) are either weakened, cut back or dismantled so as to allow for the enlargement of the market and further generation of profit, is seemingly ever more powerful; and that Uber, a technology firm that enables passengers to use an app on their smartphones to hail a taxi, ride share or private car, provides one of the most characteristic and frequently cited examples of this intensified form of free market capitalism.

Uber has thus been held up by Fortune magazine as “emblematic of the dynamic, thoroughly modern global corporation,” and as possessing the archetypal business model for the 21st century, having become a “global brand largely on the strength of its intellectual property and without a need to manufacture anything or maintain many fixed assets.” And, to be sure, the fact that the prefix “über” means “advanced,” “irresistible,” “higher,” “superior,” “more powerful,” does enable it to capture something of the intensification of neoliberalism in the years following the crash of 2008 as we move further and further away from postwar ideas of democratic capitalist economies that are centrally planned and balanced by national governments.

At the same time I’m aware there’s a risk of overkill at the moment, with everything from housing to health care apparently in the process of being überfied -- to the extent it’s become something of a dad joke. However, my association of these trends with a business that, contrary to many predictions, could actually turn out to have quite a limited lifespan (say, if there’s a widespread introduction of driverless cars owned and controlled by another company, such as Google or Tesla), is designed to render my use of the terms “überfication” and “übercapitalism” much less grandiose and bombastic -- and certainly more speculative and teasing -- than similar-sounding theories, such as “supercapitalism,” “hypercapitalism” and “neurocapitalism.”

Q: Proponents of the sharing economy say that it gives the power (and cash) to the individual Uber driver, Airbnb proprietor, etc. Why have adjuncts not had this experience? Is there any way to make the sharing economy work for them?

A: It’s important to be aware that the information and data management companies of the sharing economy are not all the same. Each has its own particular ways of operating and organizing itself. More and more of those who are laboring for Airbnb by renting out space in their homes are increasingly well-funded professionals who own multiple properties …. It is not possible for such professionals to create profitable businesses opportunities in quite the same way by owning and driving multiple vehicles for Uber. Moreover, for all that the technology firm stresses its drivers have the potential to earn more than regular cab drivers, many of Uber’s “independent contractors” have been found to be working for less than the minimum wage.

Of course, driving for Uber may offer more control over the number of hours worked and when. It may thus be a form of microentrepreneurship that is particularly attractive to students, the old and those with child-care responsibilities. However, such flexibility has to be put into context: as I show in the book, freelancers in the corporate sharing economy still have to operate according to the conditions set by their respective platform’s owners. It is also the owners who decide on pricing and wage levels, work allocation, and preferred user and laborer profiles. And of course it’s the owners who take the lion’s share of the profits, resulting in former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich describing this economic model as less of a sharing economy and more of a "share-the-scraps economy."

Adjuncts have not yet had this experience because the sharing economy business model has not yet been introduced into higher education to any significant extent. However, if for me übercapitalism can be understood as a regime of subjectification designed to produce a specific form of self-disciplining subjectivity -- namely that of individuals who function as if they are their own freelance microenterprises -- then we can say that elements of überfication are appearing in higher education. For example, just as Uber’s “surveillance capitalism” uses finely grained data to acquire deep knowledge of consumer behavior, so many higher education institutions already collect large amounts of data on student grades, attendance, library use, movements around campus and participation in online learning forums and virtual learning environments.

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) in the United Kingdom is even involved in hosting a national learning analytics service, which will collate data from a learning records “warehouse” and use this information to help understand which methods of teaching work best, and highlight when students are experiencing difficulties. Yet one of the features of this JISC national learning analytics scheme also concerns:

  • The development of an app for mobile devices that will allow students to track their own progress and, if they wish, the progress of their peers.
  • A screenshot of the app shows a Facebook-style newsfeed displaying how one student might have spent seven hours in the library over three days, while another might have spent six hours in the lab in a single day, and another might be in the top 10 percent of their class for an assignment.

It is just this kind of performance monitoring, rating and surveillance, enabled by the development of mobile phones and apps, that I’m referring to when I say that übercapitalism is in the process of transforming us all into self-preoccupied, hypercompetitive microentrepreneurs of our own selves and lives.

Q: In higher education, do the professors who land research grants or launch spin-off businesses fit the theory of the entrepreneurial individual of the sharing economy?

A: In The Birth of Biopolitics, Michel Foucault writes of the neoliberal “homo oeconomicus [economic man] as entrepreneur of himself, being for himself his own capital, being for himself his own producer, being for himself the source of [his] earnings.” I would say that those professors who land research grants and launch spin-off businesses are perhaps closer to being entrepreneurs in this sense. What I’m referring to in relation to übercapitalism and the sharing economy is an intensification of this state of affairs whereby we are encouraged to become atomized individuals who develop our personalities as brands and endeavor to generate social, public and professional value by acting as both a microentrepreneur and microentrepreneur of our own selves and lives.

In the context of higher education, think more in terms of those subjectivizing features that are used by Academia.edu and other academic social networks to help users develop their profiles as “personal brands” in order to emphasize their individual difference and specialness: the kind of thing academics have to do more and more in a competitive market both to get jobs and to hang on to them. I have in mind such features as real-name policies, personal pictures and biographies, not to mention Academia.edu’s analytics dashboards and quantifying deep analytics.

Moreover, the mode of production is shifting more and more from publishing texts intermittently in centralized entities such as journals and even websites, to the generation of a high-volume, fast-paced flow of content over a range of dispersed media -- Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WhatsApp, Snapchat. Transforming their identities into a recognizable personal brand, often by using humor, lifestyle, controversy, the cultivation of celebrity and other means of gaining attention may therefore be one of the main ways left for authors to manage perceptions of their work, and to prevent it from being merely a series of atomized texts that are posted online and then reblogged, shared and reused by others in a manner that challenges traditional notions of authorship, originality and copyright.

Given the way in which many higher education institutions, in the face of increasing market competition, are already using YouTube, Instagram and Twitter to reach both current and prospective students, there is even the possibility that in order to be able to teach and research in the future, some academics may have to sell their whole way of life, just as many celebrities are now charging subscribers a few dollars a month to access their own, personally branded, app-based mobile media channels. By cutting out the intermediaries of the “old media” in this way (book publishers, press, TV, magazines), these celebrities are providing their fans with “direct” access to their “real” lives by detailing their carefully curated fitness and lifestyle tips, the superfoods they eat, as well as offering advice on clothing, hair and makeup, and highlighting the glamorous people they know and exotic places they travel to, all as an extension of their brands and personalities. It is not so much the products celebrities are marketing and selling with these channels, then, as their own selves. They are their own jobs.

You would be forgiven for thinking this is hyperbole. Yet the University of Salford in Britain is already reported to have “two profiles on the dating app Tinder, encouraging school leavers to ‘start a lasting relationship with us this September’ and to ‘swipe right to find the course of your dreams.’”

Q: Many young people seem to embrace parts of the sharing economy -- even as some of them complain about lack of resources for higher education. What do you make of that?

A: As I say, the greater degree of autonomy and flexibility offered by many instances of the sharing economy may suit some people. However, übercapitalism is about more than the way we work. It acts even on those elements of life that used to be beyond the control of the corporation: our sociability, our personalities. Companies such as Uber and Airbnb are concerned not just with what we do but with who we are, in other wordsThis is why I argue that affirmatively disrupting übercapitalism will mean affirmatively disrupting the microentrepreneurs of our own selves and lives we are becoming. This applies to the ways in which we work, act and think as teachers and researchers, including how we create, publish and disseminate our work.

Q: What do you believe higher education should do to resist the "überfication of the university"?

A: The second part of my project focuses on data commonism (which is distinct from both platform cooperativism and venture communism). I’m going to be arguing that universities should adopt a CopyFarLeft approach in order to construct an information and data commons with which to disrupt the disrupters of übercapitalism and the corporate sharing economy. At the moment universities act as fairly mediocre businesses, for all they are under pressure from neoliberal national and regional governments to adopt the values and practices of for-profit corporations in the belief that doing so makes them more effective and efficient. When it comes to research, for example, they clearly have a “product” the corporate sector is keen to exploit commercially. And universities are being encouraged by governments worldwide to make this product freely available to businesses on an open-access, open-knowledge, open-data basis for precisely this purpose.

Yet at the same time universities are being pushed to act as for-profit businesses in other aspects of their operation in order to compensate for the withdrawal of public funding at the hands of the very same neoliberal governments. In this respect, CopyFarLeft represents a strategic way for universities to adopt a far more “businesslike” approach toward the knowledge and research they generate (and to stop using public funding to provide free information, data and labor for parasitical for-profit businesses such as Academia.edu and LinkedIn). CopyFarLeft does so by allowing universities to insist that any for-profit business wishing to privatize, commercialize and commodify their research must pay a decent price for it (rather than getting it cheaply or indeed for free as is all too frequently the case now), while also ensuring this research and data remains openly available and free to use in the public sphere.

Adopting such a CopyFarLeft approach could thus enable universities to affirmatively disrupt those privately owned for-profit companies such Academia.edu that have a business model resting on their ability to parasitically trade off publicly funded education, research and labor. This model will provide universities with a means to render themselves far less vulnerable to disruption at the hands of both neoliberal governments and any future higher education equivalent of Uber or Airbnb.