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<nettime> does decentralisation obfuscate accountability?
Nathan Andrew Fain on Tue, 11 Oct 2016 22:45:27 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> does decentralisation obfuscate accountability?


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With the next Moneylab in Amsterdam around the corner I thought to
share the video from a lecture performance at Hebbel-am-Ufer Berlin
that tried to stage a critical take on the value of decentralisation.
Nearly a year after the show myself and co-author Maria Rössler
are still wondering what the democratic value of decentralisation
technologies is. It is becoming harder to see a distinction
between decentralisationist and the more antiquated Randian
deregulationists. The end result of either seems to be the obfuscation
of responsibility.


"Right is the Might of the Community" is intended as a perversion
of the utopic ideas of Bitcoin, DOA's and decentralised power. One
upset audience member described it as "it felt like the Internet was
speaking at me". Not shown in the video are the Bitcoin paper wallets
with 1€ on each that are given to the audience at the entrance.

http://vimeo.com/cyphunk/rightofmight
password: upandover


Short excerpt from the concept and research paper for the performance:

<quote>

A technologist presents studies and graphs in front of an audience. He
explains the relationships between inflation, the central bank,
growth, competition, the psychological dispositions of human
actors and the end of the planet.

This man embodies a highly optimistic notion of a technological
determinism which has become known as „Californian Ideology“. He
understands the potential of the new technologies, the virtues of the
algorithms, the subversive qualities of Bitcoin. Driven by radical
individualism and a general mistrust towards authoritarian structures,
he believes that our society can be improved, social inequalities can
be overcome and power can be decentralized with the help of
computerized processes. Convinced of the potential of automated
collective consensus (the Might of the Community) he pursues a
tech-utopian form of absolute democracy in which society is organized in
a non-hierarchical bazaar-like structure. processes. Convinced of the
potential of automated collective consensus (the Might of the
Community) he pursues a tech-utopian form of absolute democracy in
which society is organized in a non-hierarchical bazaar-like structure.

In constructing the protagonist’s argumentation, we used the sense of
control that technology alluringly promises its users, dressing-up
neoliberal principles in the language of democratic empowerment. The
character convincingly distils ecological and social problems as
political consequences of economic power. As an alternative to the
monopoly of centralized currencies, the protagonist introduces a
digital currency that is based on a computer algorithm and that does not
seem to be susceptible to the human craving for growth or the social
dominance of the social group of white heterosexual men.
</quote>


peace
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