Author and cartoonist Tim Kreider neatly and wryly sums up everything you need to know about what’s wrong with the digital-age economy in this editorial that appeared in yesterday’s New York Times. Kreider covers many bases, including a nod to the oft-overlooked factor in the economic calculus of the male author — that money is merely the conduit between the work of writing and getting a date. So, this is just another aspect of real life that “new-model” cultists absolutely don’t understand.
In all seriousness, though, anybody who works professionally doing anything should read this OpEd, not merely for what it says about the devaluation of the creative worker, but for what it implies about the devaluation of all human endeavor. What Kreider is really calling attention to is how the digital age has normalized the expectation that he, or any other artist, should be happy to work for free. And it is that cultural shift that ought to concern everyone because the free-labor attitude may be coming to a job near you.
“Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again.”