it viable is probably the same. Instagram wouldn’t work if there weren’t manymillions of people using it. And furthermore, many people kind of have to usesocial networks for them to be functional besides being valuable. People haveto, there’s a constant tending that’s done on a volunteer basis so that peoplecan find each other and whatnot.So there’s still a lot of human effort, but the difference is that whereas beforewhen people made contributions to the system that they used, they receivedformal benefits, which means not only salary but pensions and certain kinds of social safety nets. Now, instead, they receive benefits on an informal basis. And what an informal economy is like is the economy in a developing countryslum. It’s reputation, it’s barter, it’s that kind of stuff.
So instead of somebody paying money to get their photo developed, andsomebody getting a part of a job, a little fragment of a job, at least, andretirement and all the other things that we’re accustomed to, it worksinformally now, and intangibly.
Yeah, and I remember there was this fascination with the idea of the informaleconomy about 10 years ago. Stewart Brand was talking about how brilliant itis that people get by in slums on an informal economy. He’s a friend so I don’twant to rag on him too much. But he was talking about how wonderful it is tolive in an informal economy and how beautiful trust is and all that. And you know, that’s all kind of true when you’re young and if you’re not sick,but if you look at the infant mortality rate and the life expectancy and theeducation of the people who live in those slums, you really see what thebenefit of the formal economy is if you’re a person in the West, in thedeveloped world. And then meanwhile this loss, or this shift in the line fromwhat’s formal to what’s informal, doesn’t mean that we’re abandoning what’sformal. I mean, if it was uniform, and we were all entering a socialist utopia or something, that would be one thing, but the formal benefits are accruing atthis fantastic rate, at this global record rate to the people who own the biggestcomputer that’s connecting all the people.So Kodak has 140,000 really good middle-class employees, and Instagramhas 13 employees, period. You have this intense concentration of the formalbenefits, and that winner-take-all feeling is not just for the people who are onthe computers but also from the people who are using them. So there’s thistiny token number of people who will get by from using YouTube or Kickstarter, and everybody else lives on hope. There’s not a middle-classhump. It’s an all-or-nothing society.