Interrogating Digital Capitalism: A series of monthly events questioning liberal ideas of progress through technology
Digital technology powers neoliberal capitalism: it is central to globalisation, financialisation, the ‘flexible economy’, ongoing waves of automation and now, ‘big data capitalism’.
Liberals and many leftists assume that the problem is not the technology, but its abuse by corporations, the military and the state. But what if we are in a techno-social regime, in which these interests shape technology – and technology, in turn, shapes capitalism in a way that reinforces itself?
What if we are in a digital technocracy in which cybernetic principles of information capture and flexible control are becoming embedded throughout society? What if it is not just a matter of ‘rescuing the digital baby from the capitalist bathwater’?
Join us at this series of monthly events looking at current challenges raised by digital capitalism.
Event 3 – Digital technology and automation: the end of capitalism or a new Lucas Plan?
Digital technology-driven automation and restructuring has been ongoing since the 1960s, most notoriously in the destruction of the printers’ unions by Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s.
Now, the impending ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is creating widespread public anxiety about massive job losses caused by robots and software.
Some on the left have welcomed this trend, arguing that with Universal Basic Income, automation can produce a post-work, or even a ‘post-capitalist’ utopia.
A different left tradition, embodied by the Lucas Plan of the 1970s, argues for socially useful work and for putting human skills at the centre of production.
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