Where next for capitalism?

Dawn Foster reviews Paul Mason & Matt Ridley

Is the rise of technology strengthening capitalism or tearing it down? Dawn Foster reviews two new books PostCapitalism, by Paul Mason and The Evolution of Everything, by Matt Ridley.

This piece is from the Winter 2015 issue of New Humanist magazine, which is out now. Reposted with permission. 


In 2008, as Lehman Brothers collapsed, Paul Mason was weaving between the limos, satellite trucks, sacked bankers and bodyguards outside the headquarters in Wall Street. Mason was then economics editor at BBC’s Newsnight: his cameraman wanted to film him “amidst the chaos”. Mason’s latest book, PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, written seven years on, argues that capitalism as an idea is bloated and exhausted, with little power left to continue.

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Mason’s argument rests on the belief that the rise of technology – specifically computers and social media – has undermined traditional capitalist structures. He writes about the emergence of the “networked individual” permanently plugged into the internet, easily able to organise online and grasp complex theories due to immediate access to knowledge. Twinned with the catastrophes of the global banking crisis, climate change and a looming demographic time bomb, this is triggering a transformation from capitalism to “post-capitalism”. Continue reading Where next for capitalism?

Mordor, Helmand, Brisbane Road: Football’s New Rhetoric of Ordeal

Joe Kennedy

There was a point about four or five years ago, a point I’m not bothered about confirming archivally but which nonetheless definitely occurred, at which football clubs almost uniformly, if you’ll allow the pun, changed the way that they marketed their new kits. Not so long ago, you’d have found a posed shot of a star player rehearsing some fabulous piece of technique or even, where the club had a meagre branding budget, a simple team photograph which could create other revenue streams from calendars and similar items. What superseded these more traditional forms of marketing was a style of image which offers the contemporary student of semiotics much to consider. Now, the background will be an electrolysed Blade Runner gloom, perhaps with little serifs of smoke indicating some recent conflagration or catastrophe. Against this will stand three to five players, one of whom will be a goalkeeper, another a winger or attacking midfielder, and yet another a looming centre half with a backwoodsman’s beard and sleeve tattoos. Their arms are crossed and resolute; they are indomitable. The language used to sell the kits will be pared down to abstraction: ‘[Club Name] 2015 Home Kit: We Are One.’ The general tone is a seriousness so ascetic it detonates into camp, unable to withstand the internal stresses on its structure of plausibility.

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Continue reading Mordor, Helmand, Brisbane Road: Football’s New Rhetoric of Ordeal

Postdubstep to postcapitalism – further reading from the Long Progress Bar

The November Lighthouse Arts Progress Bar happens tonight in Brighton, featuring Repeater faves Claire Tolan and PAN founder Bill Kouligas

We went down to Brighton last month for the Long Progress Bar – a two day version of the monthly event, and a ‘festival of radical imagination’ featuring talks, workshops and performances from artists, activist, musicians, writers, academics & more.

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There was A LOT to take in across the two days, so we’ve compiled a brief list of further reading on some of the work/topics covered:  Continue reading Postdubstep to postcapitalism – further reading from the Long Progress Bar