Technology and Post Capitalism



so let's start with this wonderful panel very happy to have them here we've got to my right Paul Mason noted author esteemed journalist and I think one of the most important voices on technology and politics in the Anglophone world right now to his right we have David Harvey we have David Harvey distinguished professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and author of his new book do you have a copy on you David Valentina valency did you have a copy on you know your new copy look at this gentleman here it's a very fetching green and red jacket David is very happy to sign them I believe after the event are you yeah great David's very happy to here we go it's a very good book marks cap on the madness of economic reason and somebody joking you said has David read anything but capsule for last 20 years I mean that's a good question but in this book in this book no no in this book you'll be absolutely shocked because there's capital one two and three and the gun racer so revelatory in 220 pages really excellent book and some really important new stuff in his in his work then to my left I have Alice Bell who is a co-director and the head of communications at 10:10 is that right Alice has a you have a PhD in the history of science than you and we did a podcast a few years ago on climate change and I think that podcast opened my eyes as they're just how critical climate change is in any transition about capitalism something will really address as this evening proceeds and to the left of Alice we have James Midway James is the political adviser to John MacDonald is that correct and the former the former chief economist of senior economists the new economics chief economist at the New Economics foundation so I start with the blurb from from the twt website for this evening since the inventions of agriculture and writing technology is endured an intimate relationship with politics serving – both disrupt and uphold concentrations of power but do the technologies of the new century from computing to synthetic biology create a new set of possibilities are they the bridge to a different kind of society now I'll start with you Paul that fundamentally seems to me to be the hypothesis underlying your book post capitalism in your vision of post capitalism what is the relationship between technology and politics well thank you let me just try and explain what I mean by post capitalism in one of the books that Aaron just mentioned the grundrisse a Marxist 1858 notebook that he used to try and work on capital um there is a passage which when people discovered it because this thing was lost for a long time were quite shocked many people of my age went to university in a crisis ridden near a 1970s and 80s and they saw the profit margins of capitalist companies collapsing they saw the business model of capitalism the model Keynesianism failing and they kind of assumed that this would be the end and we weren't the first because if the same illusion was there in the 1930s and indeed in the 1890s every generation of radicals has had this moment where capitalism looks finished and easy and of course technology explains is one of the explanations and it's in there in Marxist capital as to why because it technology allows various escape routes from crisis you can cheapen what it costs to create a worker you can cheapen what it costs to create a machine and these things in Marx's capital that that are referred to as the counteracting tendencies to the fundamental tendency which is the rate the rate of profit shrinking our form kind of put out to me permanent escape mechanisms until a kind of technology comes along that cheapest machines and labor and goods faster than it then they can create expensive ones and it Radek eights labor out the workforce faster the new job can be created so a hundred years ago Rosa Luxemburg the noted Marxist revolutionary that she was the teacher she was she did this job she was the head teacher of the German Labor Party's school she wrote capitalism is about to reach the limits of the new markets it can find and in the time it took her to write the book the accumulation of capital the number of movie theaters in Berlin went from warm to 168 so capitalism did find a new market and it did create a new more expensive product my thesis is that information technology is different the it's not mystically different it doesn't create abstract mystical cyber things it just cheapens real things so rapidly that it disrupts capitalism's normal mechanism of adaptation and survival and so what does it mean going forward for us I mean the whole book talk about uber except let's keep it at the abstract level no it it means that we have to deal as a radical social democratic party which is what a hot labor will become with a situation where our utopia for 200 years as for Marx was based on work but we're matter to change that we have to come up with utopias that are no longer based on work because work isn't going to be necessary for our great-grandchildren and in addition we've kind of seen you know a lot of US Commerce of socialists and in its technical sense socialism is it's the map the management of scarcity to to in the favor of poor people in favor of social justice you have to plan you have to nationalize you have to you have to take control of various means of production but I think we will also be facing the problem of communism that is the problem of certain things being so easy and cheap to produce that they become abundant before we even get there so that's the outline of my basic set of ideas okay um imma stick with you for a second is it fair to say quite briefly are you a technological determinist I'm more of a warm than probably other people on this platform but nobody should be a technological determinist and this says that one technique that the certain kind of technology produces a certain kind of ideas and a certain kind of society however I think we're living through a very big inflection point in technology and to and to this extent technology it's not just that it created the Arab Spring or the it created the Occupy movement and that it created new networked ways of thinking and interacting but that the way network technology is interacting with the human brain and psyche and that old thing human nature seems to be very interesting in that that it is creating people with multiple selves people with multiple channels of expression into society whereas and here again you know for those of us used to leave politics you know we probably most people in this room if you've been to any university and anywhere near a politics department the subject of politics is the individual this kind of person with rights created by 250 years of of bourgeois society I see that fragmenting I see people able to manage their selves in a way that they can accept different amounts of Rights and that's both terrifying and interesting to me okay and sticking with the idea of technological determinism will come to you David you say in this book as you've said previously on your very eminent lectures on capital that technology should be understood as just one moment with an a broader constellation of change and that history proceeds through these moments which are all in tension with one another can you just outline those moments and how you understand social transformation unfolding through them yeah I used this footnote in Marx's capital which talked about the way which technology reveals or discloses the relation to nature the social relations which we produce the manner of production the you know whole set of set of things and I always dwell on the fact that you know reveals or discloses is not determined and that therefore you have to look at the way in which technology is embedded in other forms of social relations and the like but I also took seriously the organization that Marx laid out in capital where in fact but you have to learn technology and the Machine system and all the rest of it comes at the end of the transition from feudalism nor at the beginning that a chapter on cooperation and then divisions of labor or and detailed divisions of labor says that capitals being erected on a technological foundation of a certain sort but it was capital was being erected on it and then in the chapter on machinery kinda says well finally capital found it's real it's its own technological base but it was the last thing it found and in the process of finding it when you're reading that chapter you see that he talks about the way in which mental conceptions of the world had to change that nature could no longer be looked upon as some something organic and alive it had to be turned into a dead object that could be exploited that art was displaced by that by science and technology we see all these transitions in the chapter and actually you see that all of those elements at work in the chapter and the other thing he kind of points out is that we can miss read situations if we concentrate merely on the technology opens the chapter for example by saying you know John Stuart Mill Express the considerable consternation and and parkland was puzzled by the fact that new technologies and machines which are supposed to love lighten the load of Labor end up making the lot of the laborer worse and John Stuart Mill says this is very perplexing a mouse guy says well it's not perplexing at all because the technologies used by capital is to extract more value from labor and to squeeze the labor even more than before and this is one of the things you see historically that every time a new wave of technology comes along it does indeed seem to suggest some beautiful you know new future that can be constructed out of it and so we see that in the 1960s we saw it in the 19th century you see it in the nineteen in a 1990's with internet and all this ourselves you say you see it again and again a people kind of say well you know this is the this this is the basis for a socially Society the answer is well it could be but it's not gonna be because the capitalist social relations are dominant and all turned the carefully social relations are kadam inant in the class domination is there they are going to make sure that kept these new technologies get used to squeeze value out of labor to squeeze the pop the population to steal as well from the population as much as they can so the technology becomes instead of vehicle for emancipation it becomes a vehicle for greater and greater levels of oppression and we see that with things like the internet we see it with all of the kind of surveillance articles that around and the NSA and all the other stuff that's going on this this technology which was being so looked on as somehow or other Liberatore has now been turned into a kind of a real real tough system of oppression but that's because of the domination of the class relation hmm I think so I'm gonna so I'm going to sort of say look if there is something fundamental we've got to really look at it's the nature of the class relation in contemporary society and what it's likely to do the new intelligence and we hope we get into this particularly artificial intelligence because there's something we need to discuss and debate about that right now I'm sticking on this topic just initially ok we will have a very round discussion we've already discussed this as a panel you specifically take umbrage with Paul's concept of post capitalism now as I understand it from what you have both already said is that Paul essentially inverts what Marx is outlining in capital so you're saying the institutional structures are their wage labor the weight the proletariat's they're in Elizabeth's in England a bunch of things are there the social relations are their relationships are nature and then finally capitalism creates technologies Paul with post capitalism I think you're inverting that nobody's saying it's wrong or right but your thesis fundamentally is that we have these disruptive technologies and gradually the social relations relationship to nature sexual will overlap woman is that fair Paul or not I wouldn't frame it like that because everything you just said about about technologically technology as a mediator of social relations I also agree with but what the transition so so the transition however I am village beyond capitalism is one in which the relation to use Marxist terminology hopefully we're not excluded two-thirds of the room the the relations of production the social relations that we all live with him can't tolerate for any great length of time a situation where the technology is producing abundance one and what Marx talks about in the green research which is social knowledge Marx says as soon as knowledge becomes socially embodied in the general intellect it will blow the city the foundations of cover doesn't sky-high not the superstructure the foundations and that's what I can I believe that's the transition we're in not the one I believed thirty years ago as a student studying capital which was proper collapses economic crisis long period of scarcity okay so we're gonna move on I'm gonna come to Alice we're talking about the issue of obviously climate change is more the fundamental crises of the 21st century I put it alongside the aging the collapse of our economic system resource scarcity the green left for decades at least that's my interpretation has viewed any transition beyond fossil fuels I ate a solar to wind and so on as necessarily having to mean that we consume less energy is that a fair summation and is that correct the green movement is has eased currently and has always been very diverse so there is a thread of green thought that would advocate that sort of point of view but there's always been many other types of green thought and they've often argued against the argued with each other and they have different views about type 2 technologies and notions of abundance or scarcity or all sorts of other words we might bring along with that and so I mean I guess we could say I a bit of it's true whether it's a good idea or not it's easy to see a kind of message from greens as like use less we just need to stop Johnny being the same was beautiful motor smallest beautiful that's another way of putting it yeah and I think that probably works in some contexts and nots and others so I don't want to I mean I would I would say that one of the things that we need to do to tackle climate change is build more forms of other types of energy and switch where we're getting our energy from it's not just about not having fossil fuels it's about moving from fossil fuels to wind or solar and as everyone's seen the massive big offshore wind turbines on the beach now the last time I came to Brighton that wasn't the view and we're seeing these things shifting already but on top of that energy efficiency is an important thing that that doesn't necessarily mean that we all need to be cold it means actually that we can be warm it means that along with these big shiny wind turbines and solar panels and bits of a new kit that people seem to get very excited about we should also be getting really excited about a loft insulation is really exciting to tell people that we shouldn't say a lot of insulation is boring because that just makes it more boring it is it's you know it's important as well and it's an example of how a green action can intersect quite strongly with all sorts of other forms of activism particularly like housing rights so at the moment one of the things that happen in the coalition government was we've got a new law that meant that landlords had to make their houses that they're renting out couldn't be the lowest energy efficiency basically like one public health person I spoke to said it would be like living in a sieve if you lived in a house it's like D or E rated so if you were renting at home you would have to make some very basic changes to it kind of to stop it from being completely leaky which would affect which does an impact on climate change was save energy but it also means that people live in more comfortable homes now this policy has now been screwed around loads sorry I said that word our Facebook isn't regulates poor that's why yeah but you know this is an example if we're fighting for movements to save energy actually it can be done in a way that we are making homes more comfortable that we are asking for renters rights that we are building better buildings that last longer it's not necessarily about having less of something it's about having better stuff so I just worry a bit when we have this dichotomy about a sort of green saying small is beautiful and less is more and like sort of other movement which is like yay warm put abundance great stuff you're like well we can have both and it's just about looking at where we're gonna be play using our technologies efficiently yeah so I mean for me my view of the green lettuce store it clears that that's been the tendency I think that's probably going but that's been the historic tendency and now the question I'd ask as a result would be do you think that the historic mistake of the green movement in the last 30 years is an inability to generate a populist politics or and actually saying look your lives could be better beyond fossil fuels here's why rather than saying well actually exactly very restrained to be very austere you can only food in season from 50 miles away which in England is not great you know do you think that's been a political failure of the green left possibly yes and I'd say that alongside that we've also got kind of messages about climate change being just that we're all going to die and I mean wanna sugarcoat this we're all going to die but that's the jokey wave but it's hard to not be really crass when you talk about climate change because it is really really bad really really bad and I don't I don't want to say that well I'm about to advocate is that we also need to be able to give people a positive vision of the future and there's a danger there because you you sound like you're saying it's all going to be okay but we need something to motivate us to go along side alongside appreciating how awful it is this is not to say we're giving you some hope and that's all you're gonna look at it is awful but there is some light there is ways that we can tackle it and we can make it less awful and there are new things new ways that we can rebuild the world as we are rebuilding it to tackle climate change that will also make the world better for other reasons like energy democracy like clean air less all sorts of other things that tackling climate change we will also be able to tackle and so I think that is I think you'll like to say that they haven't been able to give a positive vision but it's not necessarily just been about saying we all need to eat potatoes final question what a post-capitalist society necessarily have to transition to renewables I think any society if you want society to exist if you want people to live on this planet we're gonna have to stop using fossil fuels last week right so yeah how okay James let's get this micro Vera so we talked on the level of theory we've discussed this economy technology climate and then we've got the policy wonk one of the sort of you know sorry James Jenness a PhD in economics he's very happy to record a warm one of the sort of these hallmark policies of the labor manifesto was the idea of national investment banks yeah what would the role of a national investment bank be within what Paul's calling radical social democracy what kinds of things could it do there's this two bit I think it fits in hopefully we were with what Paul and David and Alice had talked about which is to pass this one of them is only this is striking and it's probably obvious to the people in this room it's obviously just walk out the door particularly since the the recession the crash is that for all the talk of this big technological shift that's taking place the fourth Industrial Revolution away beyond what to call it the kinds of technologies that Paul has been talking about and the acceleration of technological changes that implies what's actually happened very very clearly since 2008 and accelerating as you might expect in 2010 is that we've substituted we've substituted cheap labor for for investment in any of this new technology or capital on any particular scale like very very strikingly so so instead of we basically have a kind of an economy that works towards because the incentives are set out like this and the labor market works like this and your institutions think like this their works towards saying well we could invest in new technology we could make other things happen we could for instance if you're talking about investment in renewables this is a relatively quick way to generate some highly skilled well-paid relatively secure jobs and do something they would get you some distance towards making any kind of climate change objectives you could do something like that in fact all your incentives are to say well actually we don't do that because we can just effectively cut people's wages mess around with their hours put them on zero hour contracts and all of these things instead so one of the things in the manifesto and probably building on this going ahead is that the fundamental bit we have to get hold of it's how investment happens and where it goes we need more investment in this sort of technology on a very very large scale I mean and it's embarrassing some of it if you see you know we can sit here and talk about digital technologies about what we can do online the rest of it I mean just wandering around Brighton the broad backdrops right in your on your mobile phone that sort of thing that you pay a fortune for these things from these companies it doesn't work across greats ways of the country that sort of thing and you talk about oh there's this big new world we could be part of as an economy where we live is lagging behind and all these things and starting to seriously lag behind so one part of what you have to do and if you want a positive vision of this there's like you have to solve a problem that this government in particular in the British economy and all fundamental sense isn't really solving itself which is that if you want some of these things to happen there has to be a way there has to be the institutions that will deliver that investment so that's why a set a national investment bank and Regional Development Bank's that's one part of it the other part of it I think is exactly what Alice said which is this question of energy democracy and democratizing the ownership of the technology that's there now I don't know out the exactly the same thing last time I came to Brighton there wasn't a great big new wind farm are on the horizon and now there is and this is good in and of itself it's better than that not happening I won't speculate on who owns it but my guess is this isn't you know some sort of local cooperative if anyways from Brighton can tell me otherwise right there you can yet so they can tell me that this isn't going to be some sort locally owned there you go the German government right I'm impressed the depth of knowledge and local knowledge on the status of general intellect it's back to the grundrisse er so it's not owned locally it's not controlled locally now that's less of a problem for offshoring practice there are issues around you know kind of the ownership of this skyline if you like in the sea underneath and the coasts and that sort of thing it's more of a probably to about onshore wind which is where the really big obvious economic witness just in terms of this stuff is they're really cheap about its cheapest gas it will get cheaper to install and if you want to make a very rapid transition to low carbon energy production this is one of the routes to do it's now the issue there of course is it if you don't own the wind farm yourself that's now sitting on top of what was otherwise an unspoiled bit at landscapers alone before this is where the wind tends to be you won't feel too pleased about that but you'll feel very differently if you own that and your community owns that and you collectively owned that that would change how you feel about this it would also generate income it would also start to introduce some economic activity locally so there's two parts I think to this one is there's the big national collective effort that has to be made to try and knock the economy were in into some way there isn't basically low investment in crap jobs forever more because that's the downward spiral they were assigned to look at that's the big national part of it the other part of the democratization and ownership of that economy giving people the chance to actually take some parts of the wealth that's there and use it for themselves and use it in a way that's you know collective and fair and democratic and all the rest I would disagree and say that it does matter an offshore wind – and there was really interesting paper from the Labour Energy Forum just out last week I would recommend that you google and try and find it on this very issue on the ownership of UK offshore wind and what's useful about it doesn't just put some data on it it gives some really good arguments about why that matters and why we shouldn't just say Community Energy is for little projects in solar farms more small wind far wind turbine of which there are several actually Sussex Brighton is a really good harbour particular community solar but we could have community wind they have offshore wind they have community offshore wind in Denmark why can't we have it here and I think we'll see people locally you probably are thinking oh my views I used to live in Brighton it was a bit of an emotional shock for me to see the view being changed today when I came down here I cut like six I like wind turbines but at the same time I can imagine people looking over and going that's owned by German bank that's not really us and if there was ownership I'd also affect our public engagement with renewable energy bill so it means that our supply chains are going to be in the UK and it's gonna mean that we have more jobs here it has all sorts of economic impacts oh yeah lose the opportunity of offshore wind at all James I'm not you can say what you like but can't ask a quick question you collectively owned forms of renewable renewable energy locally be it solar or wind is that the kind of investment that a national investment bank would making well that would be the source I mean look the principal barrier and a thing else is absolutely right there's no reason why you can't do this it's scale and you have to do it at a fairly large scale if you do an offshore wind ideally and other you can think of other piece of renewable projects that would look like that the issue here to get back to to what other people are talking about is that we do not have a financial system that is particularly well geared to saying hey we're going to provide the finance the capital necessary for your local community or your bigger than your local community your town your city to actually set up something like this these are the barriers this is a real barrier to getting these things up and running in this country which is partly why and that's probably mostly why the scale so far is tended to be more limited for community projects now there are local councils and local authorities trying to get in to doing this – to setting up their own sort wind farms – making these things happen but the big barrier there is if you don't have a financial system that can deliver the investment to do this it'll give people the capital that understands what a cooperative might be or what the collective form of ownership might be of something like her or wind farm then you won't get the money to do it and if you don't get the money to do it it won't happen so you have to think about building new institutions that can start to deliver this sort of thing and of course then once you've got that you can talk about scaling up I think so Alex very quickly than I'm going to give people a concrete example of this this idea of people owning their own solar farms or wind farms and stuff isn't some imaginary thing that happens in the future it has happened in the last several decades in the UK and I've got a really nice example of one that happened just locally recently the town of balke which you might have known for its anti-fracking protests the first place where we really saw anti-fracking protests happening the UK after all the protesters went and the fracas went they sided not to frack the local community felt kind of bruised by the experience and was sort of left with this thought well how should we power ourselves and they decided what they wanted was community owned solar they wanted to own it themselves and not have fracking companies running like floating in and they wanted it to be solar and they tried to build a community owned solar farm and there is a beautiful solar farm in Bochum that produces enough electricity to power Baulkham and the village next door but because of the changes in policy and how difficult it is to run a an Energy Corp in the UK now it had to end up being commercially run and you can go and see it as beautiful it's designed really well because it was designed with the community because right up into the stage they were about to the you know plug in it was going to be community owned but in the end it couldn't be and that was a few years ago this isn't some imaginary thing in the future this is actually our history and it could still be our present and our future too if we just had some small changes in policy hmmm pool to transition new post kapil ism would we need to completely socialize finance or would an institution like national investment banks be sufficiently what I think is let's take the example of energy because the not just energy of decarbonizing okay because as well as energy the circularity that is designing are designing products so that they never extract any more raw materials from the world ever again as possible Ellen MacArthur perfectly capitalist and liberal person there's a lot of work with corporations about how you do this so if you think about the two things decarbonizing energy production and circular rising the production of things these are two important building blocks for you know let's be clear what I want to do is to transition beot not just beyond the carbon world but beyond the world dominated by by market forces that's what they the socialist or communist project or post catalyst project is know what what do we do concretely I think the first thing is obviously you turn off the most important thing the most important element of neoliberalism is the Neo bit the wander all the 1930s thinkers were obsessed with you must continually every morning we create the market because it doesn't recreate itself you have a privatization machine yeah quickly for the audience what's neoliberalism and what's the difference between it and liberalism very quickly we should never shy away from using this term for me I describe an object it's the system we live in but the theory of it is the liberalism liberalism is lace a fare the state stands above the market and the market interacts and it reaches equilibrium itself the theorists of neoliberalism in 1930s Hayek and a guy called Fuji in France France said it look the market doesn't recreate itself left to itself it produces monopolies and states and the state takes over so we must forever use the state to coercively reinsert private-sector values into the economy so the first thing we do to come back to the argument is switch off the privatization machine which switch off that the constant incentive what you just described took for a community run thing to go private into the commercial sector but here's the thing in general what I've just what I would like to see are small scale diverse projects of not of nonprofit nature whether they're co-ops whether they're credit unions whether they are small worker worker co-op on factories etc but I make an exception on energy because what when it when it comes to this big transition we have to make you on carbon the weirdest thing is that the new liberal elite told us that you know four billion year old planet a 25 year old system is the solution to saving it I in the free market if we don't necessarily think that that is true but the horrible truth might be something akin to Stalinism is the only thing that will rapidly take control and decarbonized i know i don't like that either but but one has to begin from the technology we need big decarbonized energy systems which don't make any profit and that sink into the ground this four trillion of market capitalization I either share energy companies are worth four trillion and if they produce all the energy the planet burns a lot quicker than any of us imagined so I think state ownership and intervention into the energy thing energy system is for me the most important or rather the most radical bit of what I want to do the rest can be done through a mixture of market non market and state but do we need to socialize finance and so much as the incentives right now are completely misaligned well see socialize violence is important isn't it but it doesn't necessarily mean nationalize violence is essentially all in Britain anyway partly socialized already it's there's an implicit guarantee to all banks that if they go bust first of all you will lose some of your savings and then the state will step in bail in then bail out so we need to we need to socialize fight it's partly socialized the risks are socialized the rewards are still privatized so we – I think you need to step careful we talked about a Labour government here not a Student Union debate yeah you know I step carefully but I would say I would take RBS accept the fact that it's never going to recover as a proper capitalist bank it's one of the biggest institutions in the world even now and then to the debate would you use it as a centralized bank or would you would you then break it break up its capital into regional banks but for me RBS should be the number one candidate for the for this National Investment Bank there's no need to create we could create a new one we've softened up the problem of what to do about RBS we could we could create a good Bank bad Bank with our a RBS and the good bank should be refocused to do what UC Berkeley has always did in this country Barclays was a preeminent lender to SME small businesses it's useless now but if you had a business that that was literally brimming with money to give to lend a very decent rates to the kind of businesses that you might want to form people round here and already have formed you know and brands full of small innovative businesses that you know and then hs2 and then a new motorway and then you know a tidal barrage in Swansea you know these are tens of billions and it could have children as you know the program is 250 or we need to spend it in in ten years sorry can I jump in here yeah I want something to thank you I mean neoliberalism for me is very simple it was a class project it was a class project from the very beginning it was not about the market it was about consolidating class power and I tried to write that out and it's very interesting it's very interesting what's happened I try to write that out in the brief history of neoliberalism the lots of books coming on about liberalism right now and one tries to treat it as an ideology another tries to treat it as you know about the market another about that and that to the point where the concept becomes incoherent and half of people say you shouldn't use it anymore which means it great we don't have to talk about the concentration of class power anymore well you that's what we got to talk about and that's going straight to Facebook and I'm I'm tired I'm tired I'm tired of this kind of stupid debate you know it's about consolidation on its control edition and as you said one of the bits of consolidation is you use the banks in a certain kind of way going off the gold standard in in 1971 was the beginning point of a lot of this it then allowed the credit system to be used in a certain kind of way where he could actually start robbing the world like crazy so actually when you look at something like the Southeast Asian crisis it was the thing where perfectly good economy was forced into bankruptcy by financial means then in step the bank's board all the things up and then sold them back a Sunglass things which I need to understand this by the way to have a little thing where they kind of say at the United States right now is economy is two-thirds based on robbing the rest of the world and one-third based on making things and the robbery comes about through these institutions that get set up the investment bank I think it's a great idea but one of the things it's got to do is a be democratized itself it's for all very well to say we're in a patriarchal way we're going to encourage democratization in a village you know there's very nice centralized decentralization or what or we have to actually experiment with with new ways in which that investment bank could itself be demo'd amortized and the second thing is it's got a challenge the main center of neoliberal power which lies in what I call the state finance Nexus which is the coalition between the Treasury Department and the Bank of England in this country between the Treasury Department in the United States and you know Federal Reserve in the United States cuz that's where a lot of the power is located and you can play around with the rest of the economy all you like but those are the people who really really put it together and it was great in 2008 when after Lehman went bankrupt because Congress didn't know what to do they all ran away and we're all kind of silent Bush the president didn't know what to do and he disappeared down some rabbit hole and who came out and said this is what we do the chair of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke plus hank paulson came out and stood in front of the television and had a three-page piece of paper and said this is what we do and what did we do we didn't bail the people out no we bail the banks out that's what they said and that was it that was that's neoliberalism for this that's neoliberalism in power for you and and we've got to keep that concept straight in our mind I mean we can chuck neoliberalism out if you want that's fine but don't forget this incredible importance of the class power that has been assembled right now it is more more concentrated and and and powerful now than it's ever been and the big question for me is how are they going to use that power to take these new technologies which do indeed have lots of emancipatory possibilities and all the rest of it and actually turn it to their advantage how are they going to do that that's the thing and it's interesting one of the things as we can discuss this a bit is the universal basic income now you know the left autonomy stirs have this but who else has it all the Silicon Valley people all the Silicon Valley people that's what they want a universal basic income they want to have people delivered enough money to buy their products and it has nothing to do with being nice to people having your basic car it's got my god who's gonna buy Netflix if they have no money and when when we get that sort of economy set up that's what that's what Silicon Valley wants and and so we've got to start thinking about that and artificial intelligence is coming down very strong what worries me is in the same way that the left fort in the manufacturing sector against automation and and new organizational forms and all the rest of it and basically lost you know again and again and again as you know working-class were destroyed by sort of the industrialization and all of that we're now going to see the same story repeated again in the service sector and the big question for the left is are we going to fight resistance to you know artificial intelligence coming in in hospitals all this kind of stuff are we going to fight it and lose or are we going to use it creatively and actually then push with it in certain kinds of ways that's one of the big technological issues that I think we should be discussing constable let's get to the issue of uber unless let's try and this is my understanding forget what's going on right now but it in 50 years time most cities will have a transport system that is automated it's entirely possible intelligently run but the question is and this is the question actually of the the question of class power is proposed right now today for everybody who understands that that will happen because either London's transport system will be run by an automated system that is centralized and whose logic is run on the runs on behalf of everybody and therefore social justice debates and values will feed into it should should we have a tube station during this poverty-stricken borough on or all things like that or it will be the system will reside in every atom of the transport network that is the system will be the operating system in every car and every autonomous bus and every other thing that's in that system if it's centralized it will be entirely possible and I think necessary to cheapen it all because the point will be this thing will run itself so its production cost I was it produce cost to produce a car producer bus produce a train will be the cost of running it and you can subsidize it or not but you could very easily reduce the cost of transport to pennies for everybody if it's if the system is the operating system of every vehicle that can't happen but in fact that having the operating system of every vehicle run the system will necessitate a transactional thing so basically come my car go in front of viewers in this traffic jam becomes a question of cost and that is where uber is a company designed to prevent the emergence of centralized transport systems in cities that's what it is it's nothing to do with providing employment for you for poorly paid cabbies it is no but they're designing the company for when autonomous cars come about not the word autonomous not drive of us they want the cars to have an operating system that allows them to operate with independently of and actually in defiance of any traffic management system that's it's actually already in place so this conflict we're having right now about uber which I think we should all be very clear about is not just a massively exploitative ripoff system is a conflict about who owns the data and who controls the smart city and you know the people who put the money into you buy the Saudi Arabian monarchy and there's Silicon Valley guys they're very clear that unless they produce a disruptive business model the natural outcome of the business model would be a centralized democratically controlled and ultra cheap an Auton auto ultimately non-market transport system in every city within 50 years that's what we should want and they are the rebels they are rebelling against modernity [Applause] so Paul said a few minutes ago that potentially any transition beyond fossil fuels to renewable energy may necessitate something akin to Stalinism and I saw a Sarala stop writing something down and do you wanna tell us what you wrote I think it's an opportunity to write Stalinism no I think it is it's a really provocative point and I think it's really important I think it is something that we should all think about and so it was a paper that came out last week about whether we could whether it was said that it was they've done the maths again and they thought it was geo physically possible that we might be able to keep to 1.5 degrees warming I wish then got spawners Oh actually climate change isn't going to be a big problem anymore the scientists discovered it's not it is still going to be a problem there's a lot big difference between being geo physically possible or not not being geo physically impossible I think was their phrase and being a political and a cultural and social and economic inevitability and there's a there's a massive gap between those things for us from where we are socially politically economically and somebody centum technologically although think that's less of an issue what one way of looking at that you know the fear looking at fear of climate change in the eye is to go we want some kind of Stalinist response but I would still say that we cannot do that I really quite I think that is what powers me to go to work every day is not just that I'm scared of climate change is that I am terrified about the way we may respond to climate change and we may do a very very bad [Applause] I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way so I think we should heed like you know warnings like the things that Paul just said properly and we should think about that but at the same time who should be working or to try and do community energy alongside large-scale thing we can have big and small and medium together we can have things like a we have the array in Denmark which is got a community offshore wind turbine is alongside a larger commercial one owned by the part state-owned Dom I mean there are ways of doing this two different hybrids and I also really like that you mentioned the tidal lagoon project in Swansea because one of the really interesting things about this project is it's not just about imagining renewable energy and a lot of the rhetoric about the title Lagoon project is all about how many jobs it's going to create how much money it's going to save how much carbon it's going to save all of those things are important but it misses a very beautiful bit of that project which is still very important if you talk to the people involved in it which is totally reimagining what we mean by energy a way of producing energy and energy a power station so this is a power station it's not it's gonna be making power and giving jobs it's like a park and a cultural space and that you can go to art concerts there and they'll be like wildlife and birds and you'll spend time there and you'll know people you work there and you have an opportunity to argue about climate change in the building just completely different from a nuclear power plant with loads of get out of here security alerts around the side of it it's completely reimagining our relationship to energy and that can be done alongside very large-scale state sponsored state funded projects so that's different from a Stalinist vision of rapid rapid decarbonization I'm gonna come to the second James I wanted to just build them what you're saying Alice there's a you think it's Peter Thiel he talks about this stuff and you were saying old mint that Silicon Valley is now saying oh maybe heating may may be sort of kept to 1.5 peter thiel talks about us launching something into space when we saw block out a certain amount of sunlight and it right the Jinja nearing stuff and in the carbon sequestration and let you say these guys the most interest in that stuff because it means that they could basically persist with the current mode of production so I mean that that really belies the fundamental point about the relation between technology in capitalist social relations James would a national investment bank fund a people Zuba yes yeah I think we said it would so they huh really yeah I think I was pretty certain that we even said that somewhere in the manifesto and John said it people's uber platform coops for everybody you know this is what I meant about the finance not just national investment buying builder new financial institutions or on a local scale and way that scale really you need I mean the part the issue here if we're talking about Finance I mean part of the issue here is that we basically have like what five very very large banks that behave in one particular way and then that's kind of it now if you have multiple different institutions under different kinds of control with different priorities other than like you know try and make it as much money as possible as fast as possible as seamlessly as possible for your shareholders then you could start to talk about funding different things so of course things like platform corporate it's things like saying actually why can't we take this technology which is relatively easy to reproduce and this is the big dirty secret suppose know and some of this relative leads to reproduce and put it in the hands that people actually work with that technology and use that terminology so of course something like a people's uber why not I mean that I think would be an essential part of what you want to do I mean it's a classical Keynesianism is it because you've got all the labor you've got all the capital I the fixed capital the cars are there but Hoover could disappear in a couple of months and all of a sudden 40,000 people are unemployed is that I mean what so what would that kind of intervention or saying people what would you call it platform cooperative platform cooperatives what would that look like in that instance would it be all of a sudden you know sudden injection of you know hundreds of millions apartment what would substantive Li what would that mean in this particular incidence of forty thousand workers you know all of a sudden just annoy you but second away from the particular instances during this one but if more generally that the bit they were pushing up against here and they've already raised it would it be would you give worse a non-answer so now you've learned well James we've got we know that we've got the Blair eyes of the left out but what would you would you sort of aura see what we go back um when I was through 70s my long would you give workers the means basically to buy their workplaces is that is that space where we gave ya the the bit here is is what you're talking about is his two things I think in terms of the manifesto this year and what people have said and what we've done and how far the whole movement is gotten this is though in order to pay for a whole load of public services we need to tax more effectively than your and that means tax basically people have money more effectively than we are doing that's what the manifest have said that was the five percent 95 percent division that was saying that we need to tax big corporations more than they are not actually that much more let's back up to the level of George Osborne even in 2011 we're saying the corporation tax if you do that then we can pay for public services and things this does not get as interests on the more fundamental problems in the economy over the longer term which is this enormous distribution maril distribution concentration of wealth of power and it in a few hands and what you start to do about that now the exciting thing about some of these technologies and he's not just actually the digital stuff where you can see straight away that like you can copy software incredibly rapidly and cheaply and it's just there and you've got it so why not have it more collectively owned I mean that's what lurks behind uber and other such companies why not have that more collectively and democratically owned you can see how you do that but also on the level of manufacturing on level of production you can see that the scale of production needed now that you you move from a world in which things have done on an enormous scale in assembly lines to things are done 3d printing to things can be done in other different forms of technology now if you start to think about that and if you have this capital that can operate on a smaller scale it becomes a lot easier to see how you can democratize it decentralized and give it to people and fund the institutions that will do that and those institutions should ideally beyond by the people who are working there and that would be a more democratic better fair a more egalitarian way of running society that's what you need to push for to make that happen you need new institutions you do need something like a national investment bank the Regional Development Bank's it does need to be under Democratic control it does need to have that sense that this is what we're going to do that we are taking the wealth that's there and we're giving it back into the hands of people so stead of saying that you have this incredible concentration of wealth and power at the top we can use the technology that we have we can take the technology you have and give it back into the hands of people but to do that requires an institutional change that is the point we're talking about the National Investment Bank and Finance more generally and when it comes down to this right the fundamental point I suppose is would you trust the people who crash the banks to also run the robots right that's kind of another of the argue but so so in other words you have to try and take that technology and give it to people and find different ways of running we have to have very very few choices on this otherwise the system runs away with us great that sounds like I like I like the framing of the real right to buy and I think that's absolutely right the right to buy your workplace is phenomenal um David we've got just under 15 minutes left then we'll go to questions and we finish at 20 past I believe that still okay with the TWC gang good good you mentioned briefly AI David how would you manage it because II like Elon Musk has talked about this hasn't he said the big problem when we get AI is the rule is sudden a phenomenal they'll augment human intelligence in a way which doesn't look like a singularity but all the sudden people have access to a resource which is more valuable then thousands of human brains etc so how can we manage that Anna you know I mean a post-capitalist way I frankly I don't know to begin with I think this is where you know for most of us were at the edge of this and I think that we don't know quite what all is involved but we should be sitting around thinking about it and getting lots and lots of ideas about it because it is now possible part and part because AI itself as I understand it is doubling in capacity almost every two years or something so in ten years time we're likely to find all kinds of things which which will be possible to do I'm interested in questions of how I might relate to more completely questions of say Urban and Regional Planning cuz I think you know it's all very well saying we want to reduce the fossil fuels and we want to have driverless cars and all that kind of stuff but we've also got to think about you know why people are making journeys in the first place and what kind of journeys they are and and what they're for and one of the things that is astonishing about contemporary society is the way in which everything seems to be quite upside down I mean we have all of this immense labor-saving equipment in household I mean household technologies for example have gone you know through the roof over the last 30 40 years but if you kind of say as that made life easier for people we are see we generally get back is no so there's a whole kind of question of what the kind of emancipation is about and what freedom is about and I think this is where it comes back to I think some of the things you're interested in there's I mean I think disposable time free time is one of the great things that we can aim for that is where you know we go back to the pre capitalist world in which the working day was for hours and under those circumstances you have a much more civilized society you know when that actually we we cover all of the basics and there's Marx kind of puts it the realm of freedom begins when you leave the realm of necessity behind and we have to think about that necessity now in the middle of this of course what we do it what we're getting is an incredible pressure coming from capital to create new forms of necessity and and you know I'm when I talk about this I sometimes find myself being dubbed as anti-consumerist no I think it's good that we have certain levels of consumption but there is a form of conspicuous consumption which is kind of and waste which is going on in the world of consumerism which also needs to be take very close attention to about 40% of the food supply in the United States goes to waste I mean and you kind of go well we've got to think about you know how to pull that all back in and are there AI take that could address those sorts of questions so for me one of the issues is not to necessarily dwell entirely on AI although we need to know a lot about its capacities and its powers but we have to also have some vision of what kind of society we want to live in what kind of people we want to be and there is a moral argument being made right now I mean it's very strong in the United States do we all want to live like Donald Trump and be like Donald Trump and although there are people who say hell no you know that's not who we are and that's not what a human being should be and and I think that actually actually you know I mean this can get a mission while she kind of moralistic debate but on the other hand I think it's worth having because then the question of it's not simply about AI it's what it what it is that we would want to harness a AI to do which would liberate us from the kind of drudgery that many people live in right now I mean it's quickly responding to that for me when you look at AI and renewable energy Jeremy Rifkin talks about the technology energy matrix of fossil fuels with the steam engine and I've used this pairing of AI with ever cheaper solar in particular I think it could be just as disruptive as this technology which let you say really underpinned the globalization of capitis remarkably quickly Mark Cuban who's a technology technology entrepreneur owns a basketball team I believe he said that AI would create the world's first trillionaire Paul why why is it easier in the head of Mark Cuban to conceive of a trillionaire there then post-scarcity communism look the the challenge and the immense potential are summed up in that question when when when google's deepmind computer beat them best go player in the world last year yeah the the move that made everybody cry including all the 9th Dan's who what's going very quick go as a Japanese board game that's much more complex than chess and therefore a computer could easily win chess but what had never beaten the best gold player in the world because so it made a move what what it's asked itself is what's the best move I can make that a human wouldn't make and it went it burned a tenth only 10,000 to one chance move that no human would have made made it and all the guys were oh my god can it one so what does that mean because it was told to me by somebody who works closely to that team for three thousand years we had an orchard an orchard is a technology that's more or less stayed the same since Iran in 1500 BC about 30 years ago you could put a barcode on from about ten years ago you could have drones fly in sniff the you know sniff the apple pick it and fly it you automate the orchard what the google deepmind thing means is that you show the computer and Apple and say what's the best way to make 10 million of these that's the difference it will think of things we can't think of no from that you can see why it might make it cleaner because unlike the internet is today so incredibly dumb is clearly distributed power system it's networked it has nodes and the nodes can talk to each other as we all do on our cell phones without a centralized gatekeeper of the information the real danger of AI to me is it's going to give social power to the organization but could that controls the inputs and the outputs in other words it takes you back to Alan Turing's you know Ferranti massive supercomputer was one you know it takes you back to a world where computing is in the hands of somebody and that's a really big big thing because that's somebody's either gonna be Peter Thiel and his proto-fascist right-wing Silicon Valley people or it's gonna be the state which is equally frightening to me or theirs I think is a very legitimate talking sort of think piece think-tank kind of stuff there's a very legitimate are that says until you can court control it democratically don't invent it Alice only thoughts on artificial intelligence transition beyond fossil fuels element mixture you were talking about a mixture of artificial intelligence and solar but there's a sort of stage before on to artificial intelligence of a kind of the moment one of the problems we've got with our energy system is it's really analog it's not moved to digital and we're seeing some movement of digital one of the big transitions in our energy system we gonna see in the next few years is the movements being more digital which is it going to allow it to have start feeding industry but you're going to start to be able to see that intersection of energy and an AI but we're also seeing just this stage at the moment where some people are getting smart meters it's a very basic level of trust like kind of who owns that information about your home and I worry about the way that we're doing I think smart meters are great potentially there could be a lot of power in smart meters for us for to reduce at the amount of energy we're using and make ourselves more comfortable without feeling that we just have to reduce everything in a kind of light we have to have make everything scarce we have to just put on a jumper this is about being efficient about our homes and looking at where we're losing energy and where we can use it more maybe being official working with local renewables as a project we're working with a community in Wales where it means that they can using a network of smart meters and they're working with co-op energy so they're sort they're a club they can club together and they can act as a buyer of renewable energy for a local hydro plant which means that they get better without having to go through the middleman which we all normally do when we buy energy in from the grid so if you live here and you live opposite those giant wind turbines you can't buy electricity from those wind turbines you have to buy it from the grid and people around the wind turbines have to sell it to the grid and it's just it's not necessarily giving everyone the best deal but this community we were working with in Wales they can buy direct from their hydro plant they let they save money and the hydro plant can get more money because they also get a better price which means that they can invest in renewables there's all sorts of things that we could be doing with smart meters that will be brilliant but I'm really worried about the way we're doing it and I think there's maybe a but I think we should have lots of expensive interesting conversations about AI but I don't want us to worry don't us to miss its kind of more everyday conversation about nest or whatever technology some of you may be being offered and who owns that and how we do that well and I'd like to see groups like the Labour Party talking about how we might think about community owned forms of that public owned forms of that and what who owns these platforms in the in section of that is is Alexa right Amazon Alexa which is obviously all Google home which is in your home and it's eventually what you're gonna see within homes and obviously within communities is an energy internet where energy is distributed in ways and challenging ways which is optimal similarly objects like your phone be out of store energy and when something else in the home needs it'll go there and so on this may all sound very strange but fundamentally it's the same ecology that we see with the formation of a logistical Internet of which Paul was talking where you have cars and warehousing robots and trains and buses which were entirely walled autonomous all integrated Namita manner way in which we have optimal outputs so you controls it and fundamentally low you say unless it's withdrawn from capita social relations it's not good will mean things like your washing machine working at the best time of day for when your solar panels are working which is potentially really good but you might worry about your washing machine working when you're not there and but those reasons there's perfectly reasonable reasons why people would worry about that sort of thing and we need to be careful about how fast we go and make sure that we're transparent about it and take people with us otherwise I think we'll get back lash is one of the reasons why I worry about kind of very heavy top-down we can say Stalinist or some other word like revolution in terms of how we use energy is that you will be left behind and then they're gonna start to hate it and then we're going to get festering of people not wanting to move will get people hating smart meters will be getting people who aren't going to come with us and if we want to do this well and fast I think we do need to bring people with us and work with them otherwise I don't think it will happen that fast at all I'm gonna happen fast enough and I hope what happened well in a fair way that's not going to cause other problems in other places James finally the magnetic questions very quickly did you want response to anything in particular or okay I've got a question fuming at the level of government we've got a shadow cabinet which is many people presume as a government and ways go no you can't say that to understand of the people that would be going into the Treasury Business Innovation and Skills etcetera etc are they thinking concretely about these challenges around for instance solar who owns data AI and is that the role of the Labour Party or would you say well actually no think-tank should be thinking about these things and there should be a broader conversation within whatever happens there's a broader conversation about it I mean we put out it was published during the election campaign a document on alternative models of ownership which went into some of this which I recommended people are interesting having a look through and precisely makes the case for how you you create new institutions that democratize the economy that that give people a biggest stake in the wealth of society that ease things like everything from public ownership of major bits of infrastructure like the railways for instance all the way down to what do we do on on a smaller scale with this this problem of large numbers of baby boomers retiring leaving behind small businesses with no obvious people to sell it to or to you know the potential is very large number businesses that just cease because no one's gonna buy it there's no one else there now there is there are solutions to this that might well involve well for instance that people who worked in that business could take it over for instance though it's a relatively sort of mundane smaller scale things it goes through some other on it and it's worth worth the read the broader question I think is is the one that the people have touched on it is about power and it is about power in society and that's really what economics ends up being about what whichever way you look at it what we have at the minute I think and this is exciting around what's happening with delay party and and more generally is that you can see that there's a series of problems in society the underlying ones for the British economy in particular and I think it is nice to have a conversation about this technological new world that could be out there the truly British economy is that the institutions we have are poorly set up to deal with any of this aren't going to deliver much of this the crudest indicator of that is that the slide in investment in high-tech manufacturing in lots and lots of other things you might expect an economy that was working towards getting any of this stuff to be investing in the sliding in research and development spending for a number of years natural cuts in research spending that this government under george osborne pushed through so you can see that these institutions don't work they don't get you that they get you a different version of that which is the wages the labor market that produces insecure work a substitution of cheap labor for investment over a long period of time now if we have an economy as institutions can't deliver these things the question to us is how you get institutions that can and that's when you get the steps down the road towards saying well this is how the whole society could look different this is where we start to address some of the questions of who benefits from this technology how can we make it work better how can we make it work for the benefit of everyone right we have 20 minutes left I believe there are two roving mics yes please put your hands up and then there'll be two people walking around giving the mics out we'll take three questions at a time and then the people are addressed can response them so we're the microphones yeah yeah John adjusts you you get one you guys goes first and then just pick three people up whoever gets the mic first asked answer the first question this person at the back here with their hand up right in the back right at the back on the left and then excuse me my eyes are so terrible you know this chap here shall I just crack on please go yep yeah and capitalism isn't just a concentration of class power it's also a concentration of geopolitical power so in the context of capitalism today we're the materials that we're talking about further technologies we're talking about come from rare earth materials which are pulled out of the ground in areas with poor working conditions and and caused a lot of environmental degradation what are the risks attendant to the project that we're talking about here because you can quite easily I mean we can envision that well we're talking about now but to me it could become more of like a fortress Europe becomes Starship Europe hmm like the the West gets a lot and the rest of the world kind of has to suffer so we get we get maybe Elysium and the rest of the world gets Mad Max very good this chap back to the technology and each misuse as Masson said it is not social control don't invent it and they concur with him in the settlements completely because the technology that has been invested these days is secular it is used not rent manipulate but epitomizes individuals some of us who are minorities of whom we talked about the extremism of capitalism and we are seen as a danger to the establishment and society to the point where we are paralyzed paralyzed and completely misused as individuals as well as well so that we as we see it actually it is the so-called middle class who are we and in law so-called writing including such a public an army public only only companies like BBC who are happened and playing or whatever place they put on the ads they make on all the things paralyzing individuals are all within just because making them a laughingstock so that they may have no integrity or no purpose for their lives for which most we must disappears socially and the collectively trans I'll say one more yes this woman just listening to your discussion of article in artificial intelligence prior to AI is the massive accumulation of data personal data and as more devices come on the Internet energy device there's other household devices a massive amount of information about people's everyday lives in a situation where and I cannot emphasize this enough of prevalent and endemic insecurity and we don't have enough people working on that at the moment and it's and the problem is getting bigger and bigger is the question you know and we we live in an era where that aggregation of data is happening already is the key question about who owns that data and how its controlled or should we be trying to resist that further aggregation entirely that's it good so we've got three questions well we start with you David you can answer all of them or none of them obviously try and be as concise as possible we'll do another round of questions well the thing about data is there's some things you can collect data about and some you can't and and one of the big problems that exists right now is if you can't convert something into data the tendency is to believe it doesn't exist now here's one of the major contradictions that how do you get data on alienation for example that's very difficult and in fact we're living in a world in which almost two thirds of the population of the world are alienated deeply alienated so you're collecting data on all kinds of things you know like your traffic habits and you know what you've bought in the store yesterday and and a lot of it is being used I think also for this kind of question that the contemporary state has become essentially a militarized state apparatus which is into a punitive politics rather than into actual social serving and and again there is a big political kind of problem of conversion of of that because otherwise to the degree that you try to maintain any kind of democracy then the democracy is going to end up with some crazy electoral results which of course this sort of thing we're seeing and and again I so you're right you're right there's a lot of data which is all kind of getting out all over the place and people use it for all sorts of reasons I'm very much in a habit these days of when something comes up I lie so that so maybe we should have a mass lying it kind of a thing when anybody wants to know you know and and and and you know so the various things like that geopolitically I think we haven't discussed the kind of whole kind of question to your politics it's too big to go into here and I think the whole kind of question of where China's going I'm very much into that these days and what's going on with the Chinese economy and and and what that bodes for everything from energy consumption to to you know technological transformations and the geopolitics of the one belt one Road all those sorts of things so there all sorts of issues of that kind but we haven't had a chance to and I think it's probably impossible for us to get in any depth that here can answer your question slightly tangentially um what are the important things that information capitalism does is that it creates an industry around what economists call externalities externalities used to be if you've got a power station and here's my washing line your pollution hits my washing line how do I solve the problem that I'm I'm not doing business with you how do you how do I charge you and the capitalists you economists said well you create taxation you create penalties for the polluting polluting power stations but no we have positive externalities that we with information the idea that somebody who can look at all the aggregated data of Tesco's test cones consumer everything we do in a Tesco can work a lot of things that can work out you know what streaked all the diseases of poverty and obesity in in in where I come from South London if you knew what those people were buying in Tesco you could work out to tell them not to buy it in other words there are huge social power residing in this data but the question is what do we do with it the X the positive externality of network data creating new knowledge is all being controlled by giant monopolies whose entire existence their pre designed to know what you're doing uber is pre designed not just to know where you travel from its its imputed who you are it's working out what you what you've done now this is incredible we need social power over reality the project of progressive politics socialism is to create social power for everybody over all reality but we need to so so you ask it should it be centralized or decentralized I would argue the the moment where decentralized control over – over data is going to solve this it's kind of gone so so in city like Barcelona out of kalau who's the radical left mayor of Barcelona said we want information sovereignty for the city so insofar as it becomes smart that it has a smart health system a smart public transport system that where that sees your GP or your phone as you go in and works out what station you usually come out are we on the data the data is a public good now the moment Colorado said this the moment the in the global consultancy and IT industry went nuts they're the only customer in the entire world that's told them the car of the data and I think Brighton could do it I think London could do it it's an easy it's a templated an idea you take the data and you say data is a public good and it's almost like saying I'm an ultra luxury communist you know it's almost likely the most radical thing you can say is that data should be a commonly owned public good as long as of course it's anonymized because the worst thing you want is Joe Blow here in this street funnily but yeah you say well I think I think the creation of data sets that are anonymized is actually weirdly what Facebook that's its that's its business it sells anonymized data sense so look we could get into a discussion about how possible it is but if we can if we can anonymize it again we shouldn't be using it but i think that the immense social power that we could gain over reality by using our data as a public good has to be aim for me anyway and that means centralized data storage that's a really appealing vision that Paul's given all that it's reminding me of back when I used to work more in health policy we had conversations about NHS data and a lot of arguments about that and it there was a lot of people got this will be owned by the NHS we trust the NHS this is using data for social good and there are a lot of very good medical reasons why we this would help researchers and it would help us find new ways to treat medical conditions and it was a very appealing business at the end it didn't work for lots of political reasons but I was still very dubious I was but I was a bit scared of it basically because I thought there were other things in our in our society in our economics especially the way the NHS is going that made me worry a bit about it being ok now like it's an idea I like it I'd like us to be able to move to that I don't think there are other things that we are ready for but I wanted you I wanted to thank you for raising that issue cuz I think it's a really important and also one about rare earth minerals and one of the things that it really made me think about was which we haven't really touched on I think enough so far was the gap a lot of us have when we between the knowledge about the technological objects that we use and our everyday experience of them and particularly how that is encouraged I think by people who make a lot of technological objects sell to us but I think that iPhone is the perfect example of that is the black box there looks very shiny it's wonderful it gives you so much power when you use it but it's impossible to have a sense of what's inside it and it's a varied it's very difficult to understand what make what what was put in it and it's even difficult for Apple at least they say to know what where the minerals that were that it was made from came from if you contrast that with the fairphone I don't know if any of you have ever come in contact with air but it's a wonderful sort of half art project activist piece half actual smartphone some people who use it so anyone who got a fair phone some people eats it some people use it love it my partner is a will still say even when he's annoyed in not working that it's a brilliant bit of tech some people to use it hate them but I think the fact that it is trying to be a fair phone a fair trade smart phone and they will admit that it's almost impossible to do that it that it is actually impossible to have a fair trade a smart phone but the process that it's made from is to I invite you to ask questions about it this is why I think of it a bit like an art project it invites you to question where things come from and it's physically put together so you can take it apart and you can understand a bit about what it's made from and you the website tells you where everything comes from a completely opposite to the beautiful black shiny you know black mirror of the iPhone and I think that we need more technological objects like the fair friend that invite us to ask questions about that and that would also relate to understanding our data and thinking about it at the moment I think we're sleepwalking into a lot of really dangerous work things with tech and that's partly because we're being encouraged not to pay attention to what we're doing and where things are coming from and it may be that we just need to I think if we're gonna do tech well we need to build a better relationship to our knowledge of where those 10 technological objects come from and what we're doing with that when we're sharing data on things like Facebook or stuff like that so there's a knowledge gap I think for us right we've got five more minutes I'm gonna take two more questions okay that'd be very very very concise my eyes are so bad tell you what it's person hearing the rest Gogh just the front just that yeah let's go hi um so you mentioned obviously what place a I could have in the process of like technological emancipation I'm on a similar vein what do you think of the place of space exploration and technology in the yeah in in that similar process I don't want to make it i costumey but could it be a month masturbating or is it more of like a kind of narcissistic utopian fantasy that provides a get out or past essence and actions of capitalism and if it became socialized sorry if what becomes a I'm so space travel and exploration and would this person here with the maroon top actually gone will take you as well yeah this chap here and then this young I used to be a tech recently on a conference called sly do which I would ever talking about tech it worked really well for avoiding this is more of a comment than a question just as a recommendation for you'll be fine for that frustrating so I do it's it allows people in the audience to write to type in their questions and then the chair can see them thank you know so to the routine know what's really ours great yes okay too many questions um right let's do this one uh data is already a public good and we call it academia is no no it's it is a public good it's at least like the current idea of academia site producing more and more accessible data sets it's anything and actually something I'm worried about is because as Nick not sure Nick and keeps pointed out about data accumulation that it is nest thoroughly but the business model isn't necessarily monopolistic I don't what I'm actually worried about is do you think Facebook is going to start coming for universities as a competitor of data production good yes yes have to be very very quick thirty Seconds to a minute each answers will be quick this one but basically Alice I really liked how you spoke about how we have to bring people along with this idea about you know technological advancement particularly around energy but if we think that a lot of the consumption and this links it back what David was saying earlier on as well a lot of our consumption is connected to doses of fetishization of this romantic notions we have about products like Apple like whatever it is how can we recreate things that are in public ownership but that still appeal to people in a way that is real and that is sexy and that is appealing and that it hits our desire right in the core just up with response these times or also producing public goods which I'm sorry which I suppose appealed to an aesthetic sensibility quick counsel Tom Ford heading up you know the Ministry of us that's it that's it it's going off on a tangent slightly I'm gonna give you such a dill answer to this so it's the why is it that rail renal ization is still popular is it because everyone misses British Rail and and everything it's still for no it isn't it's because what we've called the minute doesn't work very well what tends to produce answers like wouldn't it be better if someone else ran this is like the experience of trying to get here in southern rail you know that sort of thing but and that's how you start with an appeal now the step beyond this is how do we get to a point where instead of an argument okay whoever has got all this money in their investment technology they're the innovator and anybody who questions this is basically some sort of Lud I and that's that's the kind of dichotomy as it's crazy seen out in the last few days that if you sort of suggest that the market solutions of the market outcome that you're getting to here is a problematic in some way then in fact you're opposed to technology itself I think disentangling those two things is a challenge I suspect it's already happening because technology itself is getting us to the point where actually you know you can produce something very cheaply and distribute it very cheaply and it's just obviously it can be shared and it's a collective production of something that is the Internet you can already see what technology disassociated from immediate explicit private ownership starts to look like so I suspect there's already bits of examples there it's just spreading that example around Alice you said when you said about making things appealing you also said making them real and I thought was maybe just because you were you know how forming the question but I only think is I don't think our desire for a lot of these objects is real I think some of it is real but I think some of it isn't real – and part of what we can offer is just different forms of desire but also I don't see why we couldn't have Topshop destroyed and remade as a workers cooperative really like I mean I don't see why we can't have cool things and maybe that goes back to the space travel thing maybe we could have space travel you know under what fully automated luxury communism I would worry a bit about space travel because apparently there's something to do with where it admits where where you would be of that like you could be particularly environmentally damaging apparently space travel so let's not do that but we could create one that's like a low I don't know an on a mission spacecraft and then accountant let's all go to the moon because that would be fun let's play socialism beauty yeah it's interestingly look what's interesting is that what I said Peter Thiel of PayPal is a proto-fascist I mean it he is theorized he said written in 2009 I no longer believed freedom and democracy are compatible this is what the American writer doing and what he said he's working for the Trump administration yeah what he said is there's two things three things we can do we could colonize outer space we can colonize the sea or can colonize the cyberspace and create that they did the third yeah they created the alt right there so the the day of a project and they are imagining human hundred years hence and they control that the access to capital capital such as exists on a scale that can invest in these massive space travel projects are is owned by Silicon Valley No okay from how do we go from there two things we can do I want to finish with this with a proposal Vienna Berkshire data was they was there beautiful are Nuvo publicly financed design bureau in in Vienna Bauhaus in 1920s Germany Russia also had the constructivists artists in Russia had their equivalent of the Bauhaus what they were alternative was to create beautiful trendy mass-producible things for workers that would make workers lives more beautiful than anybody else's and ultra cheap and I think one thing the first left government that comes to power series that should have done this should have created or like fostered the creation of a new design bureau that is there to create cheap recyclable circularly producible goods that have the palm up that believe me kids aged 16 would be wearing that logo super seriously because it means I'm saving the goddamn planet and I'm capitalism at the same time who doesn't want to do both of those things David yeah my my views of space travel have been perverted a bit by reading Kim Stanley Robinson's novels but the key thing there is that you kind of you replicate if you if you replicate the same social relations as you go then doesn't make any difference you know and I this is the problem and this brings me if you like to again we have a well we have a tremendous amount of information we have a tremendous amount of data right and this could be used and is used of course by the corporations there's instruments of domination and we could use it and and you know quite a few people on the left are pretty adept at using it too and I think that we also have a pretty sophisticated system of communication though of course we find not right now that the National Security Administration is listening to all of it and and and so so I it's not as great it is this but I think the one thing we're really short of what we've got the information we've got the social communication but but the big problem we've got right now is the organization where's the organisation and I think that that is not something that is given if you like by the tech data and the tech question and all the rest of its saying well until we have a really good organization on the ground we're not being a position to look at AI and say no we don't want that kind of AI we want something else we're not in a position to actually say look the state apparatus is behaving like I sort of repressive monolith and it's time it stopped we're not going to have the capacity to do those things so that the big hole if you like politically for me is that we're not really properly organizing Thanks




Comments
  1. At 26:00 the off-shore wind farm in Brighton is discussed. 

    In recent years the skyline in Brighton has been decimated by (a) the off-shore wind farm and (b) the "i360 tower", a giant observational tower that you can take a ride up a bit like the London Eye, known locally as "the cock and ring" or "iSore". 

    Unlike the i360 tower, which is a purposeless financial and architectural failure (and much worse than a failure — a mutilation of a beautiful skyline), at least the wind farm has some function. But why would you choose to put 100+ wind turbines on one of the most historic and densely populated coastlines in the country? I have no objections to wind farms in general, but why not put them somewhere at least vaguely out of the way?

  2. The big fork in the Left movement is between those who think Socialism will be built on new foundations – Marxian revolutionary view- and those who think that simply continuing the capitalist system a magical phenomenon as increase in productive forces , on planet, will thrust us into socialist relations of production which they say it is the socialism Marx wanted to get to ! Here Marx replied '' I am not a Marxist , and count me out of your socialism you bourgeoies people '' Here David Harvey stresses the class struggles and class wars going on , and class projects are still powers to overcome '' ! Now I said as Noam Chomsky thinks, New liberalism is neither NEW and neither Liberal , I called it neo-fascism , because fascism , is the ZOMBIE dead body of capitalism artificially kept alive , by world wars, by genocides, by permanent wars, by so many coup d' états The Left leaves them going on ( in the name of eventually we will get to socialism ??? ) , by spying everybody, by doing socialism for the rich , as Trumps do also in addition to other things he likes , and poverty and capitalist daily 5000 000 killed or more death for the masses left in capitalism !!! Lets do Open Social Political Environemental University, Global , on direct democracy ( not representative democracy ) , permanent power for citizens, and run on Human Rights, Peace and Life for all on this planet , excluding banks and monetary system , replaced by social accreditation of OSUG , I called osukas ! Abram

  3. Technology democratises-decentralises-and-devolves fomenting-and-fostering a bottom-up re-organisation of both society and economy

  4. democratically controlled open source platform cooperatives (as briefly mentioned) is the most promising solution to the problem of AI, Uber, Facebook, Google etc (and society more generally tbh). If democratic and open source, funding could be provided by various international governments or non government groups. For example, there's no reason various taxi unions from around the world don't chip in and make an open source Uber alternative. Perhaps with municipal transport bodies such (Transport for London) could be involved too. This is how to do modern socialism. Attempts are being made to form these, they need all the help they get, its gonna be grassroots initiated. Later lefty governments may help, and Ihopefully charities / NGO's would catch on, but likely only after the concept is proved. The alternative is dystopia of an all powerful all knowing corporate oligopoly.

  5. Why non-Profit institutes? Some people on the 'Left' have a very old Roman Catholic piouty when it comes to money. If someone is setting up a charity, a Cooperative or syndicate and you can do good for a community and for people struggling to make ends meet why not make lots of profit and put that money in to other programmes also. The day the 'Left' understand that being poor by definition is to have no money or opportunity to earn money, it isn't any harder to understand than that. When they work out how to use a calculator, get rid of their chrometophobia and learn that there is no public sector without revenues from the private sector, a more successful private sector means more revenues and you can't ever get around that problem. When the 'Left' understand this basic fact they may achieve something and get rid of their old dogmatic ways by finding tactics, ideas and a language that is more practical that will gain support from working people.'Capitalism' is an ideology just like 'Socialism'. They are both B.S. The rule of Law, the institutes and structures created by modern thinkers we call Liberal Democracy is very, very real and it will not be changing anytime soon in the UK because, for as long as Britain is a small island with no resources and a relatively small population it will always need imports and always rely on finance, technology and trade for it's source of national wealth. Britain was the first country to go through the enlightenment and age of reason, the first to escape Feudalism and the divine rights of Kings, the first to escape Roman Catholic dominance, The only country that was to end the period of military Dictatorship, The first and also the only revolution, in 1688, which was successful and delivered on every single promise and a great deal more, which is probably why the Romantics and Idealists don't speak of it. To understand why all this is and why in Great Britain you have to understand the history leading up to 1688. It's not that there was anything particularly special about the British people but it's down to luck, happen stance of History and simple geography also. But, the Left's obsession with property law and the theory of Labour value has to go. It is irrational and comes from the old aristocracy who didn't have a single bad word to say about the exploitation of Feudalism when they themselves owned slaves and serfs and didn't mind exploiting working people for their revolutionary agency and have them throw their lives at the barricades gladly. If the Socialists really gave a damn about workers they would have listened to their concerns then and now instead they want to tell workers how to think and when they disagree "They're voting against their own best interest" They are reactionary not radical. It was reactionary when those on the continent were trying to take the means of production away from private citizens and exploit popular movements to create a dictatorship [Napoleon III, 1848] and it was reactionary by the standards of Britain since we had long since been through these changes and had these exact same debates centuries before. The 'Left-Wing' of the French National Assembly would have loved to have been as 'Left-Wing' as British Conservatives had been over a century before the revolution broke out in France. Property rights and individual sovereignty are where human rights and civil liberties come from. You can only have equal rights and protection if all law is universal and you can only have universal rights if you recognize that the individual is always the minority in any situation and ALL human being are individuals. To have a moral philosophy centered around the collective or group is all very well and good but as soon as you introduce these ideas into policy you're going to have all the same problems of before, Illiberal, undemocratic, subjective rule of law. Where a special 'Central Comity' has to decide who qualifies as a special group and who are the enemies we accuse of being 'Greedy Capitalists'. If the 'Left' are serious about their goals, which I don't disagree with personally, they have to separate the dogma and false beliefs that never worked, the tactics and the confusion over Capitalism/Socialism, Left/Right, Rule of Law/Morality, Liberal Democracy and false economic arguments that have not only been proven wrong by Marxists themselves as early as the 1890's but the exact opposite to these predictions came true. It dosn't mean we can't aim at equality but why not interact with working people and listen to their concerns? Why not, unlike Marx, find ways to help working people out of their situation instead of obsessing over destroying the bourgeoisie?

  6. So the banks will rescue platform capitalism from it's own demise and call it cooperative platform ( capitalism) , yes of course they would, so they would mortgage us a job now as well as a home ?

  7. They Make some GOODe Well thought Though Arguementz But I'm frome HULL! And The chatter of "Ta Long-haired'in Lass" Arguments are too much based Post-Grad Jagon for 80% of Ordinary People won't be tuned in too and so just shrug their Big
    Shoulder At!

  8. When it became absolutely necessary, Stalinism and the Soviet people were ready to crush the Nazis: if Russia had been a groovy decentralised co-op network at the time, the German Reich would now stretch all the way to the Pacific, and might also include China. But, of course, we're all so nice and green and clever now that nothing like fascism could ever happen again, could it ? Or, like David Harvey said, if economic class power relations don't change, we're fucked, no matter how many solar powered smartphones and windmills we got.

  9. All of the people on the stage – how many of them are wearing fair trade or worker co-op created shoes, socks, underwear, eyeglasses, shirts, belts etc.? We live in a capitalist society and the majority of us have no choice in how we can use our money – if we want to buy socks, underwear, shoes etc. our money will flow to a capitalist organization and not to a worker co-op.

    All of the talk in the world will do no good unless we organize the labor force to give alternatives – and we can use technology and data to enable people to organize and share information with others – so that we can find out if there is a worker co-op that manufactures socks…

    But just because we have a workers co-op manufacturing socks or a T-shirt – doesn't mean that the sock or T-shirt looks boring or uninteresting. You can still have a great designer working in a worker co-op. The point I am trying to make is – all the speakers talk a great talk – but how many of them can walk the walk? And if we were to say that socialist speakers could only wear clothing created by worker owned and worker run enterprises… then the speakers would have to be naked on the stage.

    So how can we cloth the socialists? How can we make brands which are manufactured through truly socialist enterprises? Well we cannot do it by rejecting technology or other capitalist systems – we can only do it by using tech and co-operating with the existing capitalist systems. The fact that I can watch this video on YouTube is a prime example – YouTube is a capitalist system – but you can upload and educate people on social programs through YouTube videos. We can start a Facebook page on worker co-op's which will lead to us finding clothes manufactured through worker owned and worker run enterprises.

    Just having fair trade coffee is not enough – we need fair trade undies too. And eventually it would be great to see fully dressed speakers on the stage who can honestly say that they spend their money only on "walking the walk" – only supporting enterprises that fairly share the profits of labor among its workers.

  10. Man, I really had hopes for Mason when I picked up PostCapitalism. Reading it after having studied Marx extensively I can't help but roll my eyes at least one time every minute. Really lousy work.

  11. It is interesting how this panel in one hand preaches for progress and openness, and, at the same time, promotes this localism and "us"-centric views on possible solutions. Isn't it obvious these two views are incompatible?

  12. Basic education is going down the drain. The mediator says in 1:03 that energy for the home will be stored on the phone. 🙂

  13. Capitalism is a mean to an end, not the end itself. Once technology is advanced enough then automation will take over labor and people will be given the opportunity to focus on philosophical aspects of existence, then money will become obsolete. It can't be any other way, there can be no capitalism if automation takes over and people have no income, because they can't buy stuff. There can not be capitalism when robots are so efficient that we achieve true abundance and the value of products falls to nothing or near nothing. Fully automated socialism if the future, you can either accept it or live in the old world.

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