‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

“Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioural futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behaviour.”

While the general modus operandi of Google, Facebook et al has been known and understood (at least by some people) for a while, what has been missing – and what Zuboff provides – is the insight and scholarship to situate them in a wider context. She points out that while most of us think that we are dealing merely with algorithmic inscrutability, in fact what confronts us is the latest phase in capitalism’s long evolution – from the making of products, to mass production, to managerial capitalism, to services, to financial capitalism, and now to the exploitation of behavioural predictions covertly derived from the surveillance of users. In that sense, her vast (660-page) book is a continuation of a tradition that includes Adam Smith, Max Weber, Karl Polanyi and – dare I say it – Karl Marx.

via ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | Technology | The Guardian

Utopia and climate change

That doesn’t mean utopia is irrelevant to the problem of climate change. On the contrary. The dystopian consequences of current trends clearly invite a utopian response. But it needs to be of a different nature from the various forms of technological utopianism that are currently circulating.

It starts with a critique of the discourses, activities, and institutions that together, within the Capitalocene, have led to concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that have reached (and, by some accounts, will soon surpass) the ceiling with regards to acceptable climate risk. What I’m referring to are theories that have normalized and naturalized the current set of economic and social structures based on private property, individual decision-making in markets, and class appropriation and distribution of the surplus; activities that have accelerated changes in the Earth system, such as greenhouse gas levels, ocean acidification, deforestation, and biodiversity deterioration; and institutions, such as private corporations and commercial control over land and water sources, that have had the effect of increasing surface ocean acidity, expanding fertilizer production and application, and converted forests, wetlands, and other vegetation types into agricultural land.

Such a ruthless criticism brings together ideas and activists focused on the consequences of a specific way of organizing economic and social life with respect to the global climate as well as the situations of the vast majority of people who are forced to have the freedom to try to eke out a living and maintain themselves and their communities under present circumstances.

Broadening participation in that critique, instead of directing hope toward a technological miracle, serves to create both a shared understanding of the problem and the political basis for real solution: a radically transformed economic and social landscape.

via Utopia and climate change | Real-World Economics Review Blog

So you want to invent your own currency

The micro-investment banking revolution will come in due course. And who knows, maybe one day even ordinary bankers will understand the nature of the money they so confidently claim to control. They’re behind the curve though. It’s the monetary mystics who are on the cusp of a wave.

via So you want to invent your own currency | Aeon Essays

Globalists Are Telling Us What Disasters They’re Planning for the Economy

Globalist plan of destruction for the economy

As always, the primary solution is to not be dependent on the system, and if globalists try to make you dependent, then you should be ready to get rid of them. Decentralized economies based on localism first are the answer. If globalists want to deny us the means of production, then we should learn how to produce and manufacture necessary goods ourselves. If globalists want us to depend on their international supply chains for resources, then we should develop our own supply chains and our own resource base at the local level.

via Globalists Are Telling Us What Disasters They’re Planning for the Economy