I recently attended an ICA Discussion 'The Trouble With Art School' The event itself for me failed to live up to expectations and the organisers saved no time for debate, there was a large audience present, but no time for debate, was a real lost opportunity? Please see a very good summary of the event on the Jotta website.
I've since come across theses video please see 5 part Debate: What are we worth? A really interesting panel! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4fbcVGiDlA&feature=relmfu
There's a huge debate to be had regarding the role of an art school today and why students go to art school, what do student want out of the experience ?
I've been looking into 'Cognitive capitalism' and would like to think about this in relation to the global open educational/practice movement, our digital profiles as artists and how and what digital literacies we accumulate or develop through education and practice and why.
Great reading review with lots of interesting ideas - http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=620
"Rather than just drawing on the labor-power that the worker expends in the eight hours he or she spends each day in the workplace, “cognitive capitalism” also draws on the workers’ expertise and “virtuosity” (Virno) and ability to conceptualize and to make decisions: capacities that extend beyond the hours of formal labor, since they involve the entire lifespan of the workers. My verbal ability, my skill at networking, my gleanings of general knowledge which can be applied in unexpected situations in order to innovate and transform: these have been built up over my entire life; and they become, more than labor-power" -
Also very interesting to think about Wal-Mart in the terms you outline. Wal-Mart is sort of single-handedly staving off the development of some big angry lumpen proletariat mob by keeping them satiated on a steady stream of ultra-cheap goods. What a perfect visual of the logic of containment at work.
The book ends, however, with an excellent proposal. Boutang argues for an unconditional “social wage”: to be given to everyone, without exception, and without any of the current requirements that welfare and unemployment programs impose on their recipients (requirements like behaving properly, or having to look for work, or whatever). This social wage — he gives a provisional figure of 700 euros per month, or about $1000/month at today’s exchange rates) would be paid in recompense for the fact that “general intellect,” from which corporations extract profit, is in fact the work of everyone — even and especially outside of formal work situations.
"Boutang seems to ignore the fact that the regime of “intellectual property” leads to grotesque consequences such as the fact that an idea that a Microsoft employee might have when she is taking a bath, or even when she is asleep (consider all the stories of innovative ideas that come to people in dreams, like Kekule’s discovery of the “ring” structure of benzene) “belong” to the corporation, and must be left behind if and when she moves on to another job. (Let me add that it is just as absurd to assert that an idea that I come up with from a dream “belongs” to me as it is to assert that the idea belongs to my employer. All ideas come out of other ideas; nothing I do is independent of all the store of “general intellect” that I draw upon)."
WhaT is “cogniTive capiTalism” and WhaT is iT for? - http://wuw2010.pl/download/Teresa_Swieckowska.pdf - also attached
The Ideology of Free Culture and the Grammar of Sabotage - http://www.generation-online.org/c/fc_rent4.pdf
Top_Down/Bottom_Up CULTURE, NOT PROFIT: READINGS FOR ARTWORKERS THE JOURNAL OF FREE / SLOW UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW VOL. 1, 2009 - http://top-down-bottom-up.com/culture-not-profit-readings-for-artworkers-the-journal-of-free-slow-university-of-warsaw-vol-1-2009/