Felix Stalder on Tue, 15 Mar 2016 17:15:50 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Fwd: Re: Shoshana Zuboff > The Secrets of Surveillance

On 2016-03-15 07:42, Brian Holmes wrote:

> In the US, the classic sequence of a long downswing is unfolding:
> inventions pile up while the economy stagnates, so the inventions
> are not brought to market. They pile up: electric cars, vastly more
> efficient batteries, driverless cars, digital manufacturing, smart
> grids, solar power, Internet of things, to list just a few. Some
> of this research is crucially sponsored by the federal governments
> (batteries and digital manufacturing are the US ones I happen to
> know about).

At the same time, there is a whole generation of people experimenting
with new social values and forms of being together, centering
arounf networked collaboration and complex systems thinking,
all-based on digital technology but extending from experimentation
with currencies, to self-made cars to urban food production,
community-based financing, neighbourhood power stations etc etc. I
think this offers a real chance to break with consumerist/precarized
notions of individuality and open the doors towards some different
configuration of subjectivity.

The fact that nobody knows how to put all of these things together
into a coherent whole, a new techno-economic paradigm, means that
these technologies and their associated potential are still open
to interpretation and configurations based on particular social
experiences .

The cynical impulse here is to say: Ah, all of this will simply
drive the next wave of innovation in capitalism! But I'm not so sure
this is a done deal. For two reasons, first, the classic strategy
of how capitalism has historically dealt with its own crises --
expand and displace -- is not going to work so easily in a fully
integrated, globalized world, not the least because if the very
tangible ecological limits.

And, second. a growing range of goods and services shedding the
commodity forms. It's not just software and data, but, on sunny and
windy days, energy prices are turning negative, and you cannot have a
commodity without an exchange value!

> and I think the most widespread consensus in all three blocs points
> (like it or not, I don't) to a kind of eco-securitarian use of Big
> Data to manage complex populations at the limits of territorial
> sustainability.

Quite possibly that's a strategy to manage the transition, but I
cannot image this to lead to any stable situation. It's hard to
conceive of eco-islands in a world of catastrophic climate change and
millions of displaced people are not easily stopped by a wall, as
Europe is finding out now.

Of course, the fact that a strategy is unworkable does not mean it's
not going to be pursued.


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