Are we now at just such a moment in world history? Will the coronavirus permanently transform the relationship between the state and the market?
The market economy exhibits most of the traits of the much hyped – and feared – singularity, where an artificial intelligence takes over the show and humans are enslaved.
Thus, we should consider whether the superintelligent AI future some fear might already in action, but at perhaps a slower and more subtle pace than some pontificate might happen after “the singularity” when AI becomes more capable than humans.
As a campaigner who has spent 40+ years on these issues, I’m not satisfied with just a problem diagnosis, I need a way forward, a credible path to success. When talking about risks to the future of civilisation, accepting failure is not really a strategic option.
Politically and intellectually, it seems like the idea of the commons is gaining traction – probably because the state and the market, its major rivals, have acquired something of an image problem in recent times. Politically, ‘the state’ has become associated with the unresponsive, centrally planned economies of communist regimes, and ‘the market’ with the flagrant inequalities and value-scouring short-termism of contemporary capitalism and/or neoliberalism.
The three-century-long reign of the market economy is nearing its end whether we like it or not, wrote late British economist David Fleming in Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy.
One of the factors that makes it difficult to think through the economic consequences of the end of the industrial age is that we’ve all grown up in a world where every form of economic activity has been channeled through certain familiar forms for so long that very few people remember that things could be any other way.
David Bollier, an award-winning policy strategist and international activist, is out with a new book that explains the rich history and promising future of the commons…