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The Digital Monad

From Counterculture to Cyberculture, by Fred Turner, presents the fascinating history through which avowed cultural radicals of the 1960s came to generate the present day dogmas of working culture under digital capitalism. In the last week, I’ve written about this in terms of the digital nomad and the digital hipster. […]

The technocratic oath

In his political memoir, Adults In The Room, Yanis Varoufakis recounts a meeting with Larry Summer which took place in April 2015. Only months into his tenure as Finance Minister, he looked to this architect of the neoliberal world order for support as hostilities with European leaders over Greece’s fiscal […]

Digital labour and the epistemic fallacy 

One of the arguments which pervades Uberworked and Underpaid, by Trebor Scholz, concerns the materiality of digital labour. As someone whose back and neck start to ache if I spend too much time at a computer, I’ve always found the tendency to assume there is something mysteriously immaterial about using […]

The embedded digital economy 

One of the things that I liked about Platform Capitalism, by Nick Srineck, was its concern to avoid analysing the tech sector as sui generis. By situating it in social and economic history, we are left with a much richer account of where it came from, why it is the […]

Notes on Platform Capitalism

In Platform Capitalism, Nick Srnicek seeks to address what he sees as a profound oversight in the existing literature on digital capitalism. One set of contributions focuses on emerging technologies and their implications for privacy and surveillance but ignores the economic analysis of ownership and profitability. Another set critically analyses the […]

Structural limits to self-control

Myself and Tom Brock are currently working on a paper in which we analyse the discourse of ‘intelligence’ in terms of the individualisation of structural advantage: a whole range of factors are wrapped up into the descriptor of someone as ‘intelligent’ which explains a complex outcome in terms of a […]

Trump is masculinising poverty

An absolutely fascinating article from Arlie Hochschild, whose new book on the American right sounds like a must read: Traditional Tea Party supporters wanted to cut both the practice of cutting in line, and government rewards for doing so. Followers of Donald Trump, on the other hand, wanted to keep […]

From Platform Capitalism to Protocol Communism

A really interesting suggestion from loc 3681-3691 from Douglas Rushkoff’s Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: In terms of fully decentralized commerce, these platform cooperatives are still just steps along the way to digital distributism. As long as there’s a central platform—a Web site or other hub to maintain—there will always […]

The Scale of Data Brokerage

I knew data brokerage was big but I didn’t realise it was this big. From The Data Revolution by Rob Kitchin, loc 1039: Epsilon is reputed to own data on 300 million company loyalty card members worldwide, with a databank holding data related to 250 million consumers in the United […]

The Sociology of Patent Trolling

In their interesting history of the rise and fall of Research In Motion, Losing the Signal, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff describe how close a patent troll came to taking down what was at the time becoming the dominant player in the nascent market for smart phones. A patent was salvaged […]