Ownerism: A Manifesto

I propose we change the name of Capitalism to Ownerism. The game of ownerism is turning everything possible, including just ideas, into ownables. Transform stuff into ownables, then own the ownables, and make ownership a lucrative role. That’s Ownerism in a nutshell. I own it.

Capitalism, on the other hand, is what I enjoy: playing major capitals of things (might be open source, like Portland) against one another. Make ’em compete and thereby grow stronger and more wily. Machiavellian.

Like I’m for knocking DC out of the ring, as a City of Morons. But DC’s owners wouldn’t like that much, I get it, as owning DC is their ticket to Owning Everything (the ultimate goal of Ownerism).

DC = District of Columbia (for anyone having trouble parsing). For more on the Grunch agenda, check grunch dot net, not using https (in case your browser fusses — they’re into making the 1990s layer, early web, harder to reach, in the name of your security).

Talking about ownerism is not at first blush about fixing anything. It’s taking ownership of my own language and, in my case, using the word “capitalism” for something else (competing capitals — are we just clearer thinkers here in Portland? Compared to DC certainly).

As an owner, I am free to discard the broken political and ideological thinking tools of my ancestors. So lazy not to do so. Marx couldn’t code, why listen to him? Or to any economist who doesn’t understand open source free software and the difference that ownership model has made to our economy already.

Got the suits off our backs. Makes big tech possible.

I’m brushing off the dust of inferior thinking from the past. I owe that to myself at least, with interest.

What proves I own something is my ability to give it as a gift. You would not allow Exxon to give you “the gift of air” in 2021, as Exxon does not own the air (yet).

The reason we thank God for stuff is to emphasize our skepticism about some of that “ownable” stuff really being ownable by human beings, or by their pseudo-human avatar corporations. We push back when they claim ownership of our idioms and copyright (colonize, commodify) our folk cultures.

Making God be the Owner used to be a best defense, even against the church.

What defense have we today to keep Bezos from buying the Moon?

You laugh?

Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon. Is that more believable? To whom?



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store