Note — Aug 30, 2020

The Cloud and the Countryside

Seen in → No.139

Source →

Really interesting Kneeling Bus issue by Drew Austin. He starts with McLuhan’s declaration that cities would become “cultural ghosts for tourists,” that we would still live in them but out of choice more than necessity. Austin then expands, from McLuhan’s observation coinciding with the mid-twentieth century deindustrialization, to today where the infrastructures for remote work are allowing even more mobility, enabling some to exist anywhere. He also cites Antonio García Martínez on the growing separation between “people from anywhere” and “people from somewhere,” essential workers and all place-dependant work. The “Zoom class” and its “‘Zoom city’ currently being layered onto existing settlements.”

Again, technology makes us all tourists, removing the barriers to exit from physical places by making it easier and easier to exist anywhere at all. This was well underway even a century ago. […]

“What COVID is revealing is that the “people from anywhere” (globalist elites for whom a city is merely the backdrop to their striving and consumption) really can lead their lives almost anywhere, leaving the “people from somewhere” to their fate.” […]

To Martínez, the “Zoom class” is currently accelerating headlong into the dubious future of entirely rootless, technology-enabled nomadism and increasingly separating themselves from the people who must remain physically and culturally rooted in a specific somewhere. […]

Rather, it’s a sprinkling of redistributed population over the existing American landscape, filling in empty houses wherever they’re available.

More → Work from anywhere: how Airbnb & guests are approaching remote working, is exactly what Austin was writing about, the company going remote and emphasizing its platform to people from anywhere so they can go work somewhere else.