Tag: Finance and Economy

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 […]

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. These cultural forms are, as […]

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself when reading through two books by Nick Couldry in which he develops a materialist phenomenological approach to understanding social reality. The first is The Mediated Construction of Social Reality (with Andreas Hepp) and the second is Media, Society, World. It’s in the latter book that he considers the […]

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 future rapidly intensified. Coming straight […]

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 computers to be rather absurd. […]

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 way it is and where […]

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 values embodied in corporate behaviour but […]

Reading the excellent Selected Exaggerations, a book of interviews with Peter Sloterdijk, I was struck by his remarks about taxation and the state in an interview from 2001. He bemoans the punitive taxation he claims exists in Germany, arguing that it reflects a broader domination of society by the state. German citizens are “punished for success” and the […]

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 somewhat mysterious and inevitably overloaded […]

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 government benefits and remove shame […]

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 be a need for central […]

From Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, by Douglas Rushkoff, loc 3167: So they accept the hypergrowth logic of the startup economy as if it really were the religion of technology development. They listen to their new mentors and accept their teachings as gifts of wisdom. These folks already gave me millions of dollars; of […]

From Douglas Rushkoff’s Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, loc 2256: Besides, consumer research is all about winning some portion of a fixed number of purchases. It doesn’t create more consumption. If anything, technological solutions tend to make markets smaller and less likely to spawn associated industries in shipping, resource management, and labor services. Digital […]

In the last few months I’ve become very interested in the status accorded to coding as a labour market strategy. It’s held up as both individually rational and a viable strategy for governments seeking to grow the human capital of their citizens. However, as Douglas Rushkoff observes in his Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, […]

From No Such Thing as a Free Gift, by Linsey McGoey, loc 2771: The tendency for political objectives to drive economic decisions –which are then propagated as purely technical policies geared at improving economic growth –is a well-known operating principle within the IMF. The late economist Jacques Polak, a former IMF director of research and […]

From Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise, pg 46. A mechanism which operates at every level, from the individual to the international: A decade or so ago, Argentina decided to repay its debt to the IMF ahead of time (with financial help from Venezuela). The IMF’s reaction was on the face of it surprising: instead of being […]

From Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise, pg 35. As he goes on to say on pg 107, “the ‘eternal’ marriage between democracy and capitalism is nearing divorce.” These elites, the main culprits for the 2008 financial meltdown, now impose themselves as experts, the only ones who can lead us on the painful path of financial recovery, […]

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 States alone (Edwards 2013). Acxiom […]

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 from a failed company and […]