Trust, the “Sharing Economy,” and Hive Minds

I just want to translate this paragraph from an article in the Sueddeutche Zeitung for y’all, because it’s very important. From an article on the “sharing economy” — you know, the buzzword term for renting rooms and cars and stuff using smartphone apps? —

“A major study by the National Opinion Research Center in 2012 concluded that only 32% of Americans believe you can trust other people in general; in 1972 that number was still 46%. Other studies have confirmed this view.

The Internet doesn’t produce trust, it makes trust superfluous. You don’t have to know each other, and you don’t need to build on major brands. You don’t need the guarantee of a yellow taxi. Instead, you can check online if the driver can drive. If you reserve a room, you can check online how other guests rated the establishment.

One no longer trusts the individual, but instead the mass of commentators. This is called the hive mind.” [1]

Quick poll: who here thinks it’s hard to manipulate reviews, spam comments, and otherwise make yourself look better and your competition look worse than they otherwise are… anyone? JTRIG?

For the record, I’m all for yeoman capitalism and “do it yourself” passive income. It’s a far better option, in my opinion, than legally mandated “basic income” schemes which result in a totalitarian state the likes of which the Stasi could only dream.

(Don’t believe me? Think about it this way — who’s harder to recruit as an informant, someone who’s “their own man,” or someone who’s addicted to the drugs you provide?)

BUT, I draw the line at cybernetic society ideas that make everyone need smartphones as part of daily life. And “hive minds” just suck in general, for everyone but the .1%… even if the “new .1%” is hipper and younger than the last .1%.

I know, there are people out there who are going, “but but but no more hierarchy! equality!” — well, no, you do not want to be part of the Borg. Being part of the Borg sucks. The Borg takes a lot from you, gives most of it to the people that created the Borg, and leaves you wondering when you’ll get that dream you were sold.

[1] http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/trend-sharing-economy-teilst-du-schon-1.1989642

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