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The Anti-Capitalist Web

I’m not sure if any idea has stuck in my head over the last year more than this tweet by Miriam Suzanne:

Large companies find HTML & CSS frustrating “at scale” because the web is a fundamentally anti-capitalist mashup art experiment, designed to give consumers all the power.

Ooooff. Ponder on that for a while.

I love the web — and what I love about the web, at its core, is something that is individually freeing and runs against the grain of corporate value extraction. How do you make a living ($$$) working on something that you love whose reason for being resists the impulse for capitalization?

The web is full of puzzling but beautiful dualities. It reminds me of Nicholas Carr’s writing where he points out the irony of the web being heralded by early advocates as a tool of liberation but in practice becoming widely (ab)used as an instrument of control.

Could the web, and everything I love about it, even be built as a platform today? Craig Mod wonders this aloud:

I still find it fully miraculous that webpage source code is freely viewable, and browsers allow for trivial editing of the source live and inline

Can just imagine the pushback against if someone tried to launch a platform like this today

It’s quite incredible that the money and power birthed through the advent of the web haven’t yet been able to completely overtake this “mashup art experiment” medium which “gives consumers all the power”.