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Re: <nettime> Nobel laureate in economics aged 102 endorses the human ec
Keith Hart on Mon, 21 Jan 2013 09:48:47 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Nobel laureate in economics aged 102 endorses the human economy approach

On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 9:32 PM, Brian Holmes
<bhcontinentaldrift {AT} gmail.com>wrote:

> In short, a whole range of attempts to reformulate the Left
> around the turn of the century were overwhelmed by the rollout of
> Neoliberal Informationalism, as a mode of production and maybe more
> importantly, as a form of financialized population management. But
> now all those things have entered into a serious crisis, and the US
> seems finally to be on the decline as the hegemonic power (not to
> mention Europe). Can we try again, with greater attention to what's
> going on in other parts of the world?

Dear Brian,

Thank you for this wonderful essay which, apart from your robust
defense of Arrighi against my slipshod putdown, shows that a quarter
century of political and intellectual engagement nettime-style can
survive disappointment and renew itself.

I spent the weekend drawing partly on our exchanges here and on the
Facebook thread to produce the first coherent statement about my
work of the past five years or so: Manifesto for a human economy
-human-economy/ .

I was in Hong Kong during the 70s and had time then to reflect on the
realities of Asian domestic production for corporations. Of course they
were largely British-owned corporations who reproduce the classic colonial
style style wherever they go. It is worth revisiting the institutional
plurality of the "industrious revolution", if only to provide a critical
lens on the monism and coercion typical of the American corporation. I am
reminded of the contrast between the stark dualism of the Anglo racial
model and the more hybrid versions of the Latin imperialists.

It is striking that we can find so much to agree on and yet produce such
different summaries of what we know and are working for. For example, we
concur with Braudel that capitalism uses money against markets and we need
to deploy both against capitalism. I am always inspired by how you keep
your eyes on the prize of a constructive cooperative response to social and
technical conditions today. My own efforts are at least one step removed
from a political program. This is because I decided some time ago that I
had to make the most of my situation as an academic intellectual.

The manifesto cited above seeks to articulate a research strategy. It also
spends time trying to change people's attitudes to markets and money and
considering the relationship between research-based knowledge and what the
public might do with it. I haven't worked out how grassroots networks might
selectively use large bureaucracies to advance their own interests and
perhaps confront the corporate takeover. But I know that forming a barter
network among New York artists won't do the job.

Come and visit us in South Africa, Brian. We have corporate funding (at
least the laundered remains of a robber baron's fortune) and we need you. I
have a dozen cosmopolitan postdocs and eight African PhD students who
should be able to introduce some diversity into your vision and mine. But
mainly they need to learn from you.


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