Tom Insam

If you’re looking for a company that encapsulates the queasy ephemerality of this economy, you couldn’t do better than Amazon. It’s a company whose initial core business (still accounting for a third of its revenue) is selling media, ie intellectual property (IP), which, like money and corporations themselves, is nothing but a useful legal fiction. At first Amazon sold IP mainly by physically shipping the media such IP was once housed in (books, CDs), but it can increasingly dispense with the physical part entirely. The market considers Amazon incredibly valuable even though it earns virtually no profits. And Amazon now wants to provide the IP it sells partly in exchange for “virtual currency”, which is the most discomfiting mimesis of all, either on Amazon or within any other game, market, platform, corporation…what’s the difference again?