INSTRUCTIONS: This exam must be word-processed in standard 12-point type with standard 1+1/4” (EDITED TO CLARIFY: We discussed this in class. Margins should be standard 1.25", the default in Word, NOT 1.5" as originally given) margins and be double spaced. Please insert page numbers. Please staple all pages into one document. Be certain to put your name on your paper. The exam must be returned to me IN CLASS on Monday, March 3, 2008. Late exams will ONLY be accepted through Wednesday, March 5th, 2008, 5pm, and will have their final grade reduced by 10% for each day (not class period) they are late. If you need to have a question clarified, you may email me or preferably post questions in the discussion thread of this page until noon on Saturday, March 2, 2008. As a reminder, this exam is to be a product of individual work. You may NOT collaborate with your fellow classmates on your answers. This Mid-Term Exam is worth 25% of your total grade. Good Luck!

A brief note about the exam: Please do not exceed 15 pages to answer the question. Yes, there’s a lot of information required for this question, but part of the challenge of the exam is in editing and honing your response to be informative and thorough, yet concise and to-the-point. Also, please avoid silly attempts to pad your work by using larger-than-specified type, a larger font in 12-point type, putting four double-spaced lines at the top of your paper with your name, the class name, the semester, the date, etc. Other things to avoid are restatements of the question, overly-long quotes, longer quotes that are not in “block quote” form (indented both sides and single-spaced), etc. Just do the work as assigned. Furthermore, you must use proper quotation guidelines and MLA or Chicago-style formatting for your attributions. I don't particularly care which format you use - just pick one and be consistent in its application.

A second note about the exam: I have reduced the exam to one question, keeping the page range at 12-15 pages to answer the question. Yes, I am soft. Perhaps I should go to more Fight Club meetings? Ooops, didn't mean to talk about Fight Club...

The Exam Question (Answer in an essay of 12-15 pages, double-spaced, 1.25” margins, standard font):

In the first two of our readings for this semester - Klein’s Shock Doctrine and Lessig’s Free Culture - we have discussed extensively the crisis of the erosion of the barriers between the public and private spheres in American politics. A more specific question for us has been: What is/should be the extent of the role of privatization in American society? According to Klein, the Bush Doctrine of governance has been that “the business of government is not to provide services, but to make sure they are provided.” This has been accomplished, she suggests, by the move of the United States toward a form of corporatism. In a brief, but well-thought out and organized essay of 12-15 pages, I want you to address the following issues in relation to this question/problem:
  • First, define corporatism and the “corporatist principles of the counter-revolution,” as discussed by Klein. Provide a couple of highly relevant illustrations of this from her book. What is the relationship between corporatism and Bush’s philosophy of government, according to Klein? How does this relate to the larger question of the increasingly thin boundary between the public and the private in American political thought?
  • Second, how does this increasing privatization relate to the idea of limited copyright, as provided for in the Constitution and its modern expansion, post-Disney, and how this has damaged the public and kept innovation out of public use? Be certain to address the expansion of copyright & property ownership to consume the space of the three types of use/use value.
  • Third, discuss Lessig’s notions of the criminalization of society through DRM, and how this criminality is increasingly defined by corporations through the four modalities of control and four types of property/sharing. How is this a result of increasing corporate control due to the weakening of the public/private barrier, and how does this relate to the three steps of Coup d’Etat as practiced by American corporations and the American government in South America? Be specific in tracing and explaining the connections.
  • Finally, How do Tyler Durden and the narrator of Fight Club resist and alter the 4 Modalities of Constraint? How are the rules of Fight Club and, later, Project Mayhem, an effort to rewrite these modalities? How does this struggle relate to the broader conflict between Read/Write Culture and Permission culture, as well as to the concept of corporatism?