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Gordon Hull
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By Gordon Hull Surprise! Facebook is back in the news and the doghouse, this time for allowing vast amounts of user data to find its way to Cambridge Analytica, which then used it to try to elect Donald Trump. The only surprise is that anyone is surprised. I’ll review why... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In the two previous posts, I first suggested that Thomas Merrill’s logical argument for why the right to exclude was the sine qua non of any conception of property was inconclusive. I then offered a brief reading of the Foucauldian distinction between juridical and biopower, applying it... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Last time, I suggested that Thomas Merrill’s logical argument for why the right to exclude was the sine qua non of any conception of property was inconclusive. With that space cleared, I want to focus on what I think a focus on the right to exclude does... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In a 1998 paper, Thomas W. Merrill argues that the presence of the right to exclude others is the necessary and sufficient condition for the presence of a property right. In this, he views himself as arguing against a “nominalist” interpretation of the right. This nominalist interpretation,... Continue reading
I live in North Carolina, the state legislature for which has been basically bought by Art Pope, a smaller-scale Koch brother (the Koch brothers themselves, meanwhile, have been successfully buying the federal government). The NC legislature has done some truly staggering things, so I’m pretty jaded on the topic of... Continue reading
John Perry Barlow, Grateful Dead lyricist and one of the early advocates for a libertarian cyberspace free of governmental regulation, as well as founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), died yesterday. The EFF notice is here. Barlow is perhaps best known for his "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace."... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Yesterday, a group of very rich and influential corporations – Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase – announced that they would be teaming up to form an independent healthcare company for their employees. From the NYT: “The alliance was a sign of just how frustrated American businesses... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In “Intellectual Property’s Leviathan,” Amy Kapczynski argues that both advocates of strong IP protection, and critics from the creative-commons (CC) side tend to view the state in the same way: “both those who defend robust private IP law and their most prominent critics … typically describe the... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull As I suggested last time, the current neoliberal expansion of IP hinges on the acceptance of monopolies, and the relation between deadweight loss (as advanced by Arrow) and incentives theory (as advanced by Demsetz) is accordingly essential to understanding it. Here I want to expand on that... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In rereading Philip Mirowski’s critique of Foucault on neoliberalism (as it’s presented in Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, his book on the 2008 financial crisis), I noticed a limit in Foucault’s analysis that I hadn’t really thought about before. Although Foucault correctly sees that... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Ajit Pai is the Marie Antoinette of the Trump Administration. How else can you explain his decision to do a little skit last week, in which he pretends that his chairmanship of the FCC is a part of a plot by his former employer, Verizon, to ensure... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull As part of its war on all things done during the Obama administration, the Trump administration is planning to do away with Net Neutrality rules. Those rules, announced in early 2015, established that Internet Service Providers must treat all traffic across their networks equally. Absent such rules,... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull It has seemed to me for a long time that one helpful theoretical lens through which to look at neoliberalism is to understand it as a phase (or perhaps a dispositive) of biopower. This is because neoliberalism does not generally rely on juridical rules (or tried to... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Over at Larval Subjects, Levi Bryant has a nice post on how Marx’s distinction between C-M-C and M-C-M’ helps to explain an otherwise puzzling ideological construction. Marx’s distinction, arrived at in chapter 4 of Capital, is about how commodities circulate. In the C-M-C formula, we consider someone... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull I have been circling around the relation between Marx and Foucault for a while, and thinking in particular about the ways that they can be viewed as productively engaged, particularly at the intersection of primitive accumulation and subjectification (e.g., here, here and here) This of course flies... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Facebook’s opaque advertising practices are in the news (again) because it was apparently the vehicle through which some of the Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 election were routed. This piece by Sam Biddle on The Intercept is well worth the read, as it makes the... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull This sounds like a trick question, but it’s not. It’s also currently before the Supreme Court, about which more in a moment. First, however, let me summarize the case for why IP isn’t really “property” in the ordinary sense, even if we use the word. In a... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull As our tin-pot “President” continues his inexorable slide into narcissistic authoritarianism, it is worth noting recent events that establish beyond any residual doubt that radical white terrorism is now official policy. When historians look at the Trump presidency, assuming we all survive long enough for there to... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Although they murdered one person, injured 19 others, and celebrated two governments, one of which systematically exterminated over 6 million people in the name of white supremacy, and another that systematically murdered and enslaved millions more, also in the name of white supremacy, members of the far... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull The expansion of the Internet of Things is going to provide a lot playspace for highly intensive and granular corporate surveillance – which is to say it’s going to be a catastrophe for privacy. Sure, sure, everything will come with a “click here to accept” or comparable... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Last time, I introduced the exchange between Mark Lemley and Robert Merges on IP theory, and made the initial case that Lemley is essentially arguing for the theoretical primacy of neoliberal biopower in intellectual property. Merges, as will hopefully become evident below, is more interested in grounding... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull A couple of years ago, Mark Lemley, one of the most influential and prolific of intellectual property scholars, published his “Faith-Based Intellectual Property,” a manifesto against what he characterizes as non-utilitarian or non-empirical theories of intellectual property. In other words, “participants on both sides of the IP... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Frank Pasquale and I have a new paper forthcoming in Biosocieties, "Toward a critical theory of corporate wellness." Here is the abstract: In the U.S., “employee wellness” programs are increasingly attached to employer-provided health insurance. These programs attempt to nudge employees, sometimes quite forcefully, into healthy behaviors... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull I have a new paper up on SSRN, "The Subject and Power of Bioethics," which was invited to a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Ethics, Medicine and Public Health. The abstract is: The present paper argues that late work of Michel Foucault is helpful in understanding... Continue reading
by Gordon Hull On Wednesday night, the Trump administration implemented as much of its long promised Muslim Ban as it thought the Supreme Court would allow. Travelers from a list of six countries who did not have a “bona fide” connection or “close familial relationship” to someone in the U.S.... Continue reading