Beyond Capital: Values, Commons, Computing, and the Search for a Viable Future
The financial/social cataclysm beginning in 2007 ended notions of a “great moderation” and the view that capitalism had overcome its systemic tendencies to crisis. The subsequent failure of contemporary social formations to address the causes of the crisis gives renewed impetus to better analysis in aid of the search for a better future. This book contributes to this search by reviving a broad discussion of what we humans might want a post-capitalist future to be like. It argues for a comparative anthropological critique of capital notions of value, thereby initiating the search for a new set of values, as well as identifying a number of selected computing practices that might evoke new values. It articulates a suggestive set of institutions that could support these new values, and formulates a group of measurement practices usable for evaluating the proposed institutions. The book is grounded in contemporary social science, political theory, and critical theory. It aims to leverage the possibility of alternative futures implied by some computing practices while avoiding hype and technological determinism, and uses these computing practices to explicate one possible way to think about the future.