July 10, 2017
The ways that capitalism uses technology as a means of control was discussed on Thursday evening in London, at a meeting organised by the Breaking the Frame collective.
The meeting was called “Interrogating Digital Capitalism”. Ursula Huws, who researches technology and labour at the University of Hertfordshire, started her talk by arguing that terms such as “digital capitalism” and “biocapitalism” are unhelpful. “I prefer to talk about capitalism”, she said.
Capitalism uses technology at each stage of its restructuring, after recurrent crises, Huws argued. She pointed to three main ways that it uses technology for social control.
■ Technology is used to “simplify and standardise work processes” and sometimes – but not always – to substitute for labour.
■ Technologies are used to control work processes, and for surveillance.
■ Technologies are used to “create new commodities, bringing new areas of human activity into alienated, commodified relationships”. This included Read the rest of this entry »
June 18, 2015
A response to Ned Ludd by GABRIEL LEVY
Ned Ludd’s article on socialism and ecology raises important questions. What would a “real fusion” of socialism and ecology look like? How should socialist
A can factory, 1909. Source: resourcesforhistoryteachers.wikispaces.com
movements look at industrialism? Is “technocracy” a concept that helps us get to grips with this?
The left “needs to abandon its mythology of the ‘liberation of the productive forces’”, Ned argues. “Instead of that narrative of progress, we need to realise that industrialism is a 200-year-old bubble that is beginning to burst.”
Much of the organised left accepts uncritically assumptions about the benefits of industrial progress, and Ned’s warnings about this are justified, to my mind. The view of technology as something that marches forward outside of its social context, and will ultimately serve progressive causes in changing that social context, needs to be challenged.
The best place I can think of to start a serious critique of the “mythology of the ‘liberation of the productive forces’”, as Ned proposes, is with Karl Marx. After all, Read the rest of this entry »