Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Friday, April 13, 2012

CROWDFUNDING

Most of you, I would imagine, have heard of something called "crowdfunding, a technique for using the web to raise investment capital for small start-up enterprises by soliciting very large numbers of quite small donations -- "investments" -- from interested parties, wherever they may be.  It is not really investing because the donors do not get any sort of ownership share in the companies their donations help to get launched, but there can be a variety of perks that give the feeling of a reward. 

Petridish.org, a crowdfunding site that is limited to scientific efforts, places a $5000 minimum limit on the amount a scientist or laboratory or research group can aim for, with the recipient of the "investment" paying a 4% fee to the web owner if the goal is reached and a 9% fee if it is not.  "The Wolves of Isle Royale" is currently 87% funded, and "Language of the Wild Bonobos" is 85% funded.  I assume that means each has raised that percentage of the minimum $5000.  Other projects currently listed include "Decoding Hyena Calls in the Maasai Mara" and "Fawns and their Hiding Places."

Indiegogo.com is a business-oriented crowdfunding site offering opportunities to toss in a few bucks for "Help Get Norfolk Donut Supply Co. Rolling" or "Proper Flops -- Anti-Microbial Arch Supports" among many others.

What fascinates me about these web-based enterprises is the evidence they provide of just how much can be done through the internet without any deep-pocket donors or fat cat investors.  These operations are the polar opposites of the Bain Capitals of the world.  The implications for politics, it seems to me, are explosive.  Since it costs virtually nothing to go up on the web, and since the rate at which information flows approches the speed of light, in a country of 310 million, there are always more than enough like-minded people who can afford 5$, 10$, 25$, or even 100$ to support an effort with which they are sympathetic.

We are really only in the first decade of this transformation in information and organization.  During the current presidential cycle, attention has been focused on billionaires and their ability to influence political races.  But think about it:  a million dollars is merely fifty dollars each for 20,000 people, and there really are many times that many progressively inclined people in this country who can be approached for donations of that magnitude. 

Perhaps bottom-up democracy has a future in this benighted land.

3 comments:

High Arka said...

Of course it has a future! Obama used grassroots campaigns to raise internet donations, and in return, has become the most progressive president ever. We're finally on the road to stopping imperial war, environmental devastation, and the exploitation of most of humanity by a small set of financial elites.

Daniel Dean Gutierrez said...

Crowdfunding for scientific research is an important new funding paradigm to help leading-edge projects to move forward. We're pleased to see this concept start to take hold. This was our mission statement back on Nov. 2011 during our launch of FundaGeek - expressly for scientific research and technology. We're seeking projects in the physical and life sciences, engineering and education.

Cheers,

Daniel - www.fundageek.com

High Arka said...

What a horrifying, utterly selfish decision--to support someone who murders thousands upon thousands of foreign children, because their domestic policy decisions are a little bit better than the domestic policy decisions that might have been made by other people in office at the time.

Even if those domestic policy decisions are better than what a "Republican" would've done...and they're not...but even accepting that partisan fairy-tale, what a vile, selfish act it is for you to support the ongoing murder of so many children belonging to a different culture. This is unabashed, vulgar selfishness of the worst kind.

You gravely agree that "Arab" children shall be butchered in droves so that "American" children can have unions. You are the worst that humanity has to offer.