Feudalism 2.0: living in the information stack

Within this week’s BCM206 lecture, we drew comparisons to the modern era and the class-based Feudalistic system of the 9th-15th century. According to Oxford Languages (2020) Feudalism is defined as “the dominant social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villains or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord’s land and give him homage, labour, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection”. The comparison starts to come in where traditionally the class systems represented kings, lords and peasants, whereas now it represents investors, techs and entrepreneur startups. Instead of land we see the environment being the internet.

A super interesting look into this week’s topic is explained in Amy Goodman’s interview with Russell Brand.

While investors may incorporate aspects such as monetary means and resources for entrepreneurs to develop platforms, online users (modern-day ‘surfs’) actually create content which means that we don’t really needs the platforms, the platforms actually require us to function. Lawrence Lessig explains this exrtremely well with his descriptions of “Disney creating something very new, based upon something relatively new”.  Disney was always parroting the feature-length mainstream films of his day. . Early cartoons are filled with knockoffs and retellings of ancient stories. Disney added to the work of others before him, creating something new out of something just barely old. This can also be seen in the Brothers Grimm tales.

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