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Re: <nettime> Fwd: Re: Forms of decisionism
Brian Holmes on Sat, 30 Jul 2016 06:55:55 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fwd: Re: Forms of decisionism

On 07/26/2016 10:50 PM, Alex Foti wrote:

the Schumpeterian state is already with us (e.g. The Entrepreneurial
State by Mazzuccato). The crisis has brought industrial policy back
into fashion, and today this means innovation policy, or rather
incentives and subsidies for digital innovation. So in a sense, all
states are Schumpeterian. However none of them, with the partial
exception of the US, is Keynesian.

In The Future of the Capiitalist State, which is like, mid-nineties I think? Bob Jessop already identifies the then-current state form as a Schumpeterian Workfare Postnational Regime (SWPR), succeeding and replacing the former Keynesian Welfare National State. This could be said because innovation policy had already become national dogma throughout the Western world in the 70s and early 80s, when state planners and corporados looked back on the technological and organizational transformations of the WWII era and asked, how can we do it again? Turned out that the old trick of military research investment (Star Wars) made the magic happen - at least, after the new trick of attracting global capital to US and UK financial markets had been accomplished by the Volcker Shock in 79-82, followed by the City's Big Bang a little later on.

The US never went formally postnational (though in important senses it functionally was due to neo-imperialism). The EU countries did make a formal supranational structure and the notion of "workfare" is due to the inimitable Tony Blair who incarnated the SWPR. Neoliberalism was borderless for capital and innovation-based to the core. We have lived the limits of the Schumpeterian dream, in that form at least. Still the process of restarting economic growth while reintegrating disgruntled voters and restabilizing a hostile international environment remains exactly the process of the capitalist state, whose intellectuals have long since learned to recognize long-swing crises - even if it is still very difficult for them to find the peculair and often horrifying magic that resolves them.

Could the left have a word to say about this? Can the very notion of innovation be renewed and transformed? Are there pathways of future development that do not lead to such brutal dead-ends as the SWPR?

Alex is right to say we should have a conference about it. In addition to the brilliant timetable and texts he already sent, there is the Technopolitics group in Vienna and my collected inquiries on the subject:


It is interesting and kind of anguishing to have worked on this for a decade and now experience the tumultuous culmination of the long crisis - which in fact, just as the best theory predicts, leads to a situation where all bets are off, no one knows what will happen next, every sector of society and economy is in disarray, political, social, military and ecological threats abound, and of the many new possibles waiting in the wings and straining at the bit, no one knows which ones will combine to form the new thing - or if they even will.

May we live in less interesting times someday! But for now, it's time to cross the river.

thoughtfully, Brian

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