Science, Technology and Society

Our Science, Technology and Society list publishes books that examine the social, political and economic implications of developments in science and technology.

Recent highlights have included Data Lives, The Imposter as Social Theory and We Have Always Been Cyborgs. Path-breaking book series include Dis-positions: Troubling Methods and Theory in STS and Contemporary Issues in Science Communication.

Science, Technology and Society

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 192 items for :

  • Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production x
Clear All
Author:

After having remained squarely focused throughout the book on a presentation of compeerism within the context of the current capitalist mode of production, Chapter 10 concludes by looking at what a fully-fledged compeerist economy, released from the fetters of capital dominance, could look like. Importantly, no universal prescriptions are offered, seeing that a compeerist economy and society can have multiple configurations. Nevertheless, the chapter offers a basic outline for approaching some of the major governance issues pertaining to markets, money, and property. Then, to offer something more concrete, the chapter proceeds to lay out just one case of a hypothetical compeerist society. Careful consideration is here given to the interconnected and mutually reinforcing organization of the economic and political spheres of society.

Restricted access
Author:

Chapter 9 turns to the political mobilization that would be called for to truly achieve a post-capitalist future along compeerist lines. The case is made that such a political-economic upheaval would depend on the emergence of an intentional, commoner consciousness that could inspire a mass political ‘movement of movements’. Yet for such movement to outcompete other, more destructive discourses and mobilizations that are likely to emerge as capitalism’s failings mount, will depend on being able to deliver actual benefits from the commons and commoning. Harnessing a mass mobilization to compeerist ends is thus presented as necessitating both bottom-up forms of exit and targeted ‘hit-and-run’ demands on the state. This latter focus on the state is based on a long-term commitment to improve the chances of localized, compeerist initiatives to form and coalesce to the point where they can effectively challenge capital.

Restricted access
Author:

The conclusion begins by noting that we live at a time when humanity possesses wealth, knowledge, and productive capabilities that are truly immense. Nonetheless, our world is characterized by massive inequality, widespread poverty, environmental collapse, and political instability and conflict. Clearly, a better outcome should be possible. The conclusion thus goes on to review the compeerist proposal presented in the previous chapters as offering an outline of what a path to such a better outcome could entail. The final takeaway is that another world is, indeed, achievable. The question that remains is whether enough of humanity will be able to find the right inspiration, motivation, and tactics to actually make it happen.

Restricted access
Author:

Today, there is a widespread perception that capitalism has no viable alternatives. This book, however, explores an emerging body of work, centred on the conceptualization and enactment of the ‘commons’, that seeks to challenge this claim. It is a proposition rooted in the idea that our current state of economic and technological development, and especially the rise of digital capabilities, makes the adoption of openness, cooperation, and shared ownership and governance a more rational economic choice in meeting the needs and wants of humanity than one based on competition, artificial scarcity, and the pursuit of profit. This book critically assesses, organizes, and hones this emerging framework and potential movement, presented under the term ‘compeerism’, by holistically considering how various sectors of the economy could be decapitalized and arranged in more commons-oriented ways. This includes a consideration of the digital economy, infrastructure, manufacturing, raw materials, as well as the monetary-financial sector. Examples of current, commons-based efforts seeking to provide an alternative to present capitalist arrangements in each of these areas are considered in terms of their promise and the challenges they face. The book ends with a consideration of the political mobilization that would be needed to execute a ‘compeerist’ transition to a post-capitalist future and a presentation of what one iteration of such a future could look like.

Restricted access
Author:

Chapter 6 delves into the foundational basis of any economy, that is, the renewable and non-renewable resource sectors and the underlying natural planetary systems to which they are bound. This chapter, therefore, deals with the overarching challenge of establishing a more resilient and environmentally sustainable economy within a broader commons-based governance regime. The DG-ML model is here shown to be particularly suited for the needed shift to a truly circular economy. The chapter also focuses on agriculture as a quintessential case of renewable resource management, and a design global, farm local (DG-FL) model is proposed and explored as part of the broader aim of achieving a compeerist approach to feeding the world. The limits to localization are, nonetheless, also addressed as well as the problematic issue of engaging in fair, long distance trade, especially with regions defined by postcolonialism.

Restricted access
Author:

Chapter 7 is the first of two dealing with the monopolization of all value by exchange-value (and hence money) within capitalist economies. It begins by considering various strategies adopted by commons-oriented actors to cope with ubiquitous commoditization, including self-reliance or exiting efforts, gifting from external actors, and by engaging markets to secure income. The argument is made that the only way to truly challenge capital is via the latter, market-focused strategy, which nonetheless must be pursued carefully and intentionally in order to stay aligned with commons-based commitments and principles. Lastly, two monetary/finance specific efforts are considered that could assist commons-based producers in going toe-to-toe with capital. One centres on finding savings and credit arrangements that could internalize the circulation of money within the commons, and the other deals with the use of alternative cryptocurrencies to help build, manage, and facilitate engagement with the commons-based ‘subeconomy’.

Restricted access
Author:

Chapter 4 is the first of three chapters to tackle the challenge of translating compeerism to the material realm by focusing on the electricity and information technology (IT) infrastructures on which the digital economy depends. Immediate forms of exit such as opting out of the electrical or internet ‘macrogrid’ are considered, before possible longer-term options for decapitalizing critical infrastructure are explored. Compeerism here seeks alternatives to the top-down, centralized arrangement prevalent in the delivery of IT and electricity services by promoting localized, smaller operators and ‘prosumers’ (individuals participating in production) that would enable greater community autonomy and control. At the same time, the limits of localization are identified, pointing to the need for state engagement to pursue a decapitalization of larger-scaled infrastructural assets. The creation of networked and highly democratized stakeholder cooperatives is presented as the most promising organizational approach to commonifying the trans-local, material basis of our electricity and internet delivery systems.

Restricted access
Author:

Chapter 2 considers the question of how the expansion of commons-based digital value production could be expanded to the point of challenging and eventually outcompeting capital, as per Karl Marx’s vision in Grundrisse. Non-capitalist forms of digital commons contributions are presented, including from government, non-profits, and cooperatives. The cooperative framework and movement is shown to be particularly aligned with compeerism, a recurring theme throughout the book. The key takeaway from the chapter, however, is the need for commons-based digital value producers to engage in greater solidarity, or ‘boundary commoning’, in order to significantly boost the expansion of the digital commons. Especially critical is the establishment of a peer-property regime that can protect commons-sourced digital value from unwanted exploitation, thus enabling the producers of this value to challenge capital in a market context.

Restricted access
Exploring the Promise of a World Beyond Capitalism
Author:

In this stimulating analysis, Hannes Gerhardt outlines the potentials and challenges of a technology-enabled, commons-focused transition out of capitalism.

The book shows that openness and cooperation are more beneficial in today’s economies and societies than competition and profit-seeking. Driven by this conviction, Gerhardt identifies key imperatives for overcoming capitalism, from democratizing our digital, material, and financial economies to maintaining a robust, political mobilization. Using clear examples, he explores tactical openings through the lens of ‘compeerism’, a newly constructed framework that highlights the latent counter-capitalist possibilities, but also limits, of our emerging technological landscape.

This is an accessible contribution to counter-capitalist discourse that is both inspiring and pragmatic for academics and activists alike.

Restricted access
Author:

Today, there is a widespread perception that capitalism has no viable alternatives. This book, however, explores an emerging body of work, centred on the conceptualization and enactment of the ‘commons’, that seeks to challenge this claim. It is a proposition rooted in the idea that our current state of economic and technological development, and especially the rise of digital capabilities, makes the adoption of openness, cooperation, and shared ownership and governance a more rational economic choice in meeting the needs and wants of humanity than one based on competition, artificial scarcity, and the pursuit of profit. This book critically assesses, organizes, and hones this emerging framework and potential movement, presented under the term ‘compeerism’, by holistically considering how various sectors of the economy could be decapitalized and arranged in more commons-oriented ways. This includes a consideration of the digital economy, infrastructure, manufacturing, raw materials, as well as the monetary-financial sector. Examples of current, commons-based efforts seeking to provide an alternative to present capitalist arrangements in each of these areas are considered in terms of their promise and the challenges they face. The book ends with a consideration of the political mobilization that would be needed to execute a ‘compeerist’ transition to a post-capitalist future and a presentation of what one iteration of such a future could look like.

Restricted access