Paul Mason discussing Postcapitalism at De Balie

Paul Mason Postcapitalism discussion at De Balie

Paul Mason Postcapitalism discussion at De Balie

Capitalism ended in 2008. We are now in a post-capitalist world, a period of transition.

We have to decide what do we want.

Do we want a world of serfs working for apps, Uber, task rabbit, Deliveroo, atomised workers bidding against each other to drive wages below the minimum wage, of zero hours, bullshit jobs, of workers standing in the market place, the literal job market, hoping to be offered a job.

When a  worker offers his labour,  it is a perishable good, if not sold today, it cannot be sold tomorrow.

Or we can have a world of open source, peer-to-peer. sharing, collaborative commons, open coops.

The people who produce the wealth, are not sharing that wealth. In the US, wages have flat-lined since the 1970s. The wealth generated by a steady increase in productivity is flowing upwards to the one percent.

Capitalism is an adaptive system, that is how it has mange to survive.

Technological innovation, the railways, the steam engine, computers, the jet engine, lead to new periods of growth, 50 year Kondratieff cycles.

Since 2008, we have seen no new technological innovation, no growth.

In the past what spurred technological innovation and investment, was the high cost of wages. Now that wages are being kept low, there is no impetus to innovate. Robots could do many of the bullshit jobs, the only reason they do not, is because the cost of labour is so low.

Information flows freely, the price of information goods tends to zero. To counter this capitalism has monopolies, Draconian copyright and intellectual property legislation.

It is a natural human condition to wish to cooperate, to share. Could you pass me the hammer please? We do not demand a price. We show someone the way in the street. We do not expect anything in return, either now or in the future.

If you impose an artificial structure on how people relate to each other, it will eventually collapse.

Neoliberalism and globalisation are not writ in stone.

With Brexit, we are seeing the breakup of the European Union.

Wallonia, a small region in Belgium, said no to Ceta. Although it looks like they have now buckled under pressure from the EU dictatorship.

Quantitative Easing has failed. It lined the pockets of the rich, inflated stocks and shares and the bonuses of bankers and led to a property bubble.

Why are we buying the debt of VW, why are we bailing out the banks?

Use the money to buy up every student debt across Europe, invest in Green Infrastructure, but not in HS2, Hinckley Point C and airport expansion.

EU has turned southern Europe into a wasteland. Youth unemployment is running at 50%, in Greece 60%, poverty levels are rising.

We need to promote open source business models, the sharing economy, collaborative commons, a basic income, open coops. If this sector grows, people have less requirement to work for a living.

Education could be free. If it is free to the age of 16, why not beyond?

We have to seize control of local Town Halls, implement participatory democracy, but this does not go far enough,we have to have to have participation in all areas of the city, the transport system run as an open coop, then network these cities across Europe.

Look to Barcelona and Catalonia.

If we can design an iPhone, why can we not design a better society?

Innovation does not mean an iPhone without a headphone socket. Innovation is The Hive in Dalston, putting an empty building to community use, giving people a function in their community.

Yes, we can introduce touchscreens in McDonald’s, eliminate bullshit jobs, but is it not better to eliminate McDonald’s?

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