Digital automation: ‘post-capitalism’ or a new Lucas Plan? – London – 9th November 2017


7:15 pm - 10:00 pm


LARC (London Action Resource Centre)
62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London, E1 1ES

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  • Free/donation
  • 7.15pm, November 9th
  • Venue: LARC (London Action Resource Centre), 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London E1 1ES

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, and threats to workers rights as digital technology restructures the economy.  Some on the left have welcomed this trend, arguing that, with Universal Basic Income, automation can produce a post-work, or even ‘post-capitalist’ utopia.  Another 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.

  • Tahir Latif of PCS union will describe current challenges for workers facing automation in air traffic control.
  • Jim Benfield, of Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) will talk about the Deliveroo strike and impact of digital technology in the gig economy.
  • Dave King of Breaking the Frame will critique recent calls for ‘full automation’ from the left, and show how the Lucas Plan provides a better solution for the future.

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