Tag: capitalism

  • Deflating the concept of ‘surveillance capitalism’

    I thought this was an interesting critique by Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow in their Chokepoint Capitalism, arguing that the concept of ‘surveillance capitalism’ suggests a break with (past) capitalism whereas we are instead seeing a familiar modus operandi undertaken by new commercial actors: This is the true heart of “surveillance capitalism”—not the idea that […]

  • Capitalism is tearing us apart

    How have I heard this countless times without listening to the lyrics? I have to work late I’m sorry that the food’s gone cold We’ll fight when I get home (Capitalism’s tearing us apart) Just strangers passing in the dark Dreams sold to stay afloat Pulled by the undertow (Capitalism’s tearing us apart)

  • We’re leaving neoliberalism and entering something worse

    For much of this crisis there has been a dominant sense that we will eventually return to pre-pandemic normality. There are many reasons why this hope is misplaced, with the pandemic likely to accelerate existing tendencies towards digitalisation, automation, occupational polarisation and political turbulence. If we have been in a Gramscian interregnum since 2007/08 then […]

  • Yanis Varoufakis on Post-Pandemic Technofeudalism

  • What the intersection of Covid and climate crisis means for capitalism

    What the intersection of Covid and climate crisis means for capitalism

    I can’t stop thinking about this James Meadway piece reflecting on what he terms our new age of scarcity. The fundamental point he is making is a simple one, concerning the environmental shocks which are increasingly ubiquitous. There is a tendency to see each of these as exceptional but the routine occurrence of once exceptional events means we urgently need to stop framing them as exceptional.

  • Nick Land’s Poeticisation of Capital’s Obscenity

    Nick Land’s Poeticisation of Capital’s Obscenity

    It’s a position I’d understood intellectually but reading it left me with a momentary flash of this obscene totality weaving itself materially and immateriality through social reality as it orchestrates its own expansion and continued ascension.

  • Post-Pandemic Hedonism: Thoughts on Mark Fisher’s Final Book

    Post-Pandemic Hedonism: Thoughts on Mark Fisher’s Final Book

    If our desires are imbricated in the circuits of capital, if we feel and dream in terms of commodities and within the horizon of the existing system, what does this mean for the possibility of moving beyond it?

  • Preventing pandemics or preparing for them

    This essay from Richard Seymour intersected in a thought provoking way with my recent concerns about the securitisation of pandemic response. He explains how this paradigm involves preparation rather than prevention, in the senes of preparing for the inevitability of a range of disastrous outcomes rather than trying to bring about change which might foreclose […]

  • This new age of plagues is directly the result of economic globalization

    From Mike Davis in The Monster Enters loc 200-215: Since the discovery of the HIV virus in 1983 and the recognition that it had jumped from apes to humans, science has been on high alert against the appearance of deadly new diseases with pandemic potential that have crossed over from wild fauna. This new age of […]

  • Is capitalism too big to fail?

    I can’t stop thinking about these words from David Harvey, recirculated by Richard Seymour in this excellent post: Capital, right now, is too big to fail. We cannot imagine a situation where we would shut down the flow of capital. Because if we shut down the flow of capital, eighty percent of the world’s population […]

  • Neoliberalism and its dependence upon oil

    From Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore’s A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things loc 2651-2699: When the United States abandoned the gold standard in August 1971,80 international capital sought refuge from this “Nixon shock” in commodity purchases. At the same time, the Soviet Union—following poor harvests—traded its oil for wheat, driving up […]

  • The sociology of civilisational collapse

    The sociology of civilisational collapse

    I found this section by Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore really arresting to read a couple of months into the Covid-19 crisis, from loc 216 -231 of their A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. Cascading failures brought feudalism to an end but there were long struggles as elites resisted demands for change but without having the […]

  • Will Covid-19 generate an epidemiological folk consciousness? What will this mean for platform capitalism?

    For the last few weeks I’ve been preoccupied by the question of what social distancing and the threat of Covid-19 means for our sense of self. It’s remarkable how quickly we have adapted to sustaining a distance from others because of the reciprocal risk inherent in our interaction. There are many cases where this doesn’t hold true […]

  • The Great Disruptive Project of Uber

    The Great Disruptive Project of Uber

    I’ve blogged in the past about The Great Disruptive Project. We should understand a company like Uber, at least in its earlier stages, as in part a moral project. By this I mean there is a vision underlying the company, a critique of the existing order associated with this vision and a commitment to changing […]

  • Can capitalism survive climate change?

    From The Uninhabitable Earth pg 162-163: The question is a prism, spitting out different answers to different ranges of the political spectrum, and where you fall on that range probably reflects what you mean by “capitalism.” Global warming could cultivate emergent forms of eco-socialism on one end of the spectrum, and could also conceivably produce […]

  • The singular innovation which explains capitalism’s growth

    I thought this was an incredibly evocative description, from pg 116 of The Unhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. Contrary to the hagiographic orthodoxy we find in accounting for the history of capitalism, the reality is that one single innovation explains the turbo charged growth which the world saw over a comparatively short period of time. It […]

  • Call for Papers: Capitalism, Social Science and the Platform University

    December 13th-14th, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge In recent discussions of capitalism, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are criticisms which can be raised of the platform-as-metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to […]

  • Platform capitalism and its interplanetary horizons

    To frame the commercialisation of space as being somehow related to ‘platform capitalism’ risks misunderstanding. It is certainly the case that Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, owes his wealth to Amazon but this has become a platform over time rather than being founded as one. Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX, owes his early success […]

  • Call for Papers: Capitalism, Social Science and the Platform University

    December 13th-14th, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge In recent discussions of capitalism, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are criticisms which can be raised of the platform-as-metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to […]