I have watched with interest the reports of Violet Blue and many others from the SXSW cultural festival in Austin every year. I’ll never go, I don’t think, not when even the Super 8 charges $800 a night (which is the rumor I heard this year on Twitter); but there’s much that happens there that’s relevant to my interests, including this set of closing remarks by Bruce Sterling:

I won’t play Debbie Downer in this space by sharing his trenchant remarks on the state of blogging, but felt I had to transcribe his broad-strokes view of the effect digital disruption is having on our prosperity:

Now, most of you in here are not novelists. I’m not complaining that novelists are disrupted and are very badly off, although we are. What I’m telling you is that you’re more disrupted. You are worse off. Whatever happens to musicians happens to everybody, including you.

People like to say that musicians reacted badly to the digital revolution, that they put a foot wrong. What really happened is that the digital revolution reduces everybody to the state of musicians. Everybody! Not just us Bohomian creatives, but the military, political parties, the anchor stores and retail malls, academics subjected to massive open online courses. It’s the same thing over and over! Basically the only ones making money are the ones who have big legal stone castles surrounded with all kinds of regulatory thorns, meaning: the sickness industry, the bank gangsters, and the military contractors. Gothic high tech.

If more computation and more networking was going to make the world prosperous, we’d be living in a prosperous world. And we’re not! Obviously, we’re living in a depression.

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