Friday, 13 September 2013

Divided by a Common Language

Tom Slee at P2P Foundation blog:

"When differences are papered over and confused.

This seems to be the case with, that presents itself as a grassroots organisation but is directly influenced by sharing ‘business platforms’ and with a clear aim of fighting against regulation ..."

"The language changes, the mask slips. Participants become customers, sharing becomes buying. The phrase “across verticals” reminds us that Douglas Atkin is an advertising executive. Now the sharing economy is about loyalty programs and cross marketing? Not the kind of sharing I want to be part of. I don’t have a problem with commerce, but what I do object to is commerce wrapped up in, and appropriating, the language of solidarity ..."

Tom also adds a comment underneath the piece: "I do have a feeling that there is a Euro-North American split, in which community-minded Europeans don’t realize that their partners across the pond are libertarian-minded Americans using similar language."

As someone living in Europe, I think Tom is broadly correct about the Euro v USA split. Look at the discourses on lots of topics - all sorts, from vaccination, fluoridation and autonomous / off-grid lifestyles through to attitudes to Bilderbergers, state control and various conspiracy theories, and you will very often find that beliefs held by left-wing people in Europe are held by ultra-right "libertarians" in the US.

What this results in, in this era of internet and global communications, is that Europeans and USAmericans frequently get our wires totally tangled because we think we are after the same goals, we are even using similar language, but underneath all that we are actually on diametrically opposed sides!

A recipe for some disastrous interaction ...