Punk economics!

This is great. I forget how I even came upon this one (safe to say, though, that I was looking up something punk): Thompson S. (2001). Market failure: Punk economics early and late. College Literature 28(2) 48-65:

Punks and punk businesses have, at best, a conflicted relationship with commodification and capitalism, around which aggregates of anxiety coalesce in material form as punk `zines (fanzines), songs, liner notes, and activism launched against what punks perceive as the encroaching realm of capitalism. What I propose is that, after 1979, both in response to the initial “sell out” of punk’s late 70s English scene and in order to preserve control over their field of production, punks adopted economic strategies for resisting capitalism. In fact, the attempt to oppose commercial music in economic terms became crucial to the definition of punk in 1979 and has remained so through the present.

However, punk has failed and continues to fail, even on a relatively small scale, to overturn the dominant mode of economic production that is proffered it-the commercial practices of the major record labels. Punks are unable to absent themselves from commodification and small-scale capitalism; but, in their attempts to resist these economic forms, they fail commercially, which is a sort of punk success after all. In their continual effort and failure to establish a zone of exchange that is qualitatively different from late capitalist commodity exchange, punks testify to the need and desire for such a zone and refuse to abandon the possibility of creating one.

You know you want to. You know you can’t resist.

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1 comment so far

  1. Ben on

    Do you happen to have another copy of this somewhere? The link above is dead and it looks like a very interesting read.


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