I saw the headline of this article by Paul Mason in The Guardian, earlier today, but for some reason thought it wasn’t serious. Then I saw it again in my Facebook newsfeed, shared by my FB friend Paul Norton, whose opinion I esteem. So I read it. Click on the picture or title to read it too.
& I think it’s a brilliant analysis of how information is corroding the neoliberalcapitalist market economy, & is — for our world’s social future — the best news ever since capitalism began , & essential reading for everyone on the “left” everywhere in the world.
(& Postcapitalism’s a pretty good name: you can post, i can post, we can all post…)
Of course it could be a brilliant sinister spin to keep us (we the majority of today’s working class, everyone who works to stay &/or keep others alive [today they call it the workforce]) consumerhappy, complacent & complicit in keeping neoliberalcapitalism’s heartless global control & austerity going (Mason tells us the true meaning of the word “austerity”. ‘Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.’
Is it a spin? I (ever the optimist, & seeing much evidence around me of what Mason writes about, & a firm believer in the power & importance of the imagination — like Mason: ‘The power of imagination will become critical. In an information society, no thought, debate or dream is wasted – whether conceived in a tent camp, prison cell or the table football space of a startup company’) don’t think so.
‘New forms of ownership, new forms of lending, new legal contracts: a whole business subculture has emerged over the past 10 years, which the media has dubbed the “sharing economy”. Buzzwords such as the “commons” and “peer-production” are thrown around, but few have bothered to ask what this development means for capitalism itself. / I believe it offers an escape route – but only if these micro-level projects are nurtured, promoted and protected by a fundamental change in what governments do. And this must be driven by a change in our thinking – about technology, ownership and work. So that, when we create the elements of the new system, we can say to ourselves, and to others: “This is no longer simply my survival mechanism, my bolt hole from the neoliberal world; this is a new way of living in the process of formation.”
There’s also a fine excursus on how ‘Marx imagined something close to our information economy. He wrote its existence would blow capitalism sky high’. & a glimpse of the future:
‘With the terrain changed [by the growth of the postcapitalist economy], the old path beyond capitalism imagined by the left of the 20th century is lost. / But a different path has opened up. Collaborative production, using network technology to produce goods and services that only work when they are free, or shared, defines the route beyond the market system. It will need the state to create the framework – just as it created the framework for factory labour, sound currencies and free trade in the early 19th century. The postcapitalist sector is likely to coexist with the market sector for decades, but major change is happening.’
& in the meantime — apart from developing the postcapitalist sector however much we do or don’t, &, as much as we can, working to influence the state to create the necessary frameworks, which also means spreading information about the information economy & its hopes, so that politicians will need to consider these matters — do we stop opposing global neoliberalcapitalist profits-before-people&environment projects & treaties & nationalist, ethnic, racist, or religious preneoliberalcapitalist exclusions, exploitations, discriminations, and devastations? I don’t thnk so.
& yes, i’m stoned. so — is this less so? the best news ever since the beginning of capitalism?
& if you like &/or agree with the article, how about sharing it? (& if you like & /or agree with this post of mine, why not share it that way?)