Anderson's whole thesis relies on an extraordinary fantasy - that production no longer exists. This operation, diagnosed as magical thinking by Mr Hatherley, seeks the absolute negation, not just of the production process but of the producers themselves, the industrial working class. "If you can outsource something to India, it is just one more step to turn it into software," claims Anderson, expressing in one fell swoop his absolute contempt for the poor and his earnest desire to make them disappear, vanish into the ether. His whole premiss relies, essentially, on everybody already being upper middle class, everybody already having lots of disposable income - or if not everyone, then everyone who deserves a voice in the brave new world of web 2.0.
Like most bourgeois theorists, of course, Anderson insists loudly that, "this is not a prescription," merely an objective statement of the facts as they are, "You can argue whether it's right or wrong, but it's there. It's being done." Like, The Swedish Model, mentioned before, it is the logic of Thatcherism: There Is No Alternative. To believe such linguistic innocence is possible, in a purely informative and objective language with no performative or productive element, requires either extraordinary naivete or a mendacious slipperiness. As Malcolm Gladwell has asked, "Why are the self-interested motives of powerful companies being elevated to a philosophical principle?" If it really were the case that this was an emerging trend soon to dominate all economic life, it would be necessary to fight it. Fortunately, there is no great reason to believe so - outside of the specific case of the music and publishing industries where there really is a fight be had if we want to maintain any degree of quality in the newspapers we read and the music we listen to.
Throughout the talk he would dissimulate wildly, if asked a critical question about something specific he would respond in vague, general terms, if asked about something abstract and general, he would respond with reference to the one specific example that might just about fit, so long as you don't't actually know anything about the subject in question. No evidence is forthcoming at any point, just pure speculation dressed up as reportage. There is a reason for this. Much like his last book, The Long Tail, successfully demolished by economist Will Page simply by doing a bit of research beyond one's own dinner party friends, the fact is that there is no evidence to support Anderson's theory. A few anecdotes perhaps, the odd bit of 'common sense' that, like most 'common sense', turns out to be entirely mythical, and a lot of grand gestures. Yet for some reason they all lap it up, and after the talk there were some fairly extensive queues to fork out over £25 to buy a book about how everyone should give stuff away for free.