Power in Complex Economies (Where did the Future Go?)

with Alex Williams
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Guest Introduction.

Alex Williams is co-author of one of the most provocative books in the post-capitalist space, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. His more recent work synthesizes complexity science and hegemony - a nebulous form of power that inculcates particular ideologies and ways of seeing the world.

The idea of hegemony began with the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramasci, but Alex’s work brings the concept into the 21st century

Alex is a lecturer in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK, and co-author of the upcoming book, Hegemony Now, with Jeremy Gilbert from Verso Books.

Between his previous work with Nick on their Accelerationist Manifesto, and the more recent work on post-capitalism, one thing is clear: he isn’t messing around.

Time map.

8:00 ~ The varieties of types of power & hegemony

14:40 ~ Where has the future gone? Paralysis of the political imaginary and the loss of utopian thinking

24:00 ~ How do structural dynamics influence individual consciousness? How does hegemony operate to communicate particular kinds of subjectivity into the consciousness of citizens?

24:20 ~ The role of education in transmitting particular ways of thinking about, and relating to, this hyper-object we call “the world”.

32:00 ~ The four ‘demands’ at the heart of Alex’s book:

  1. Universal Basic Income
  2. Full automation
  3. Shorter work weeks
  4. De-centering the protestant work ethic

35:00 ~ On Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Services

44:08 ~ On shortening the working week

48:00 ~ On the interaction between complexity science and economics

1:14:40 ~ Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman, & Emmanuel Saez’s proposal for broad spectrum progressive taxation - is this a promising way forward?

1:21:10 ~ On RadicalxChange, Glen Weyl, and the use of Radical Markets

1:27:30 ~ How do our theories of human nature influence our ability to imagine radically different futures? Are some theories more welcoming of radical change, while others leave us resistant to it?

Links from the conversation.
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