MoneyLab #11: Disaster Capitalism
This first edition of MoneyLab Berlin is inspired by Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism from 2007. Klein’s work centers on the exploitation of different crises to establish controversial policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted to engage and develop an adequate response. When everyone is consumed by crises, there is no energy left for resistance.
Facets of crisis capitalism
We have been living in crisis mode for years, from the financial and climate crises to the worldwide health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is no foreseeable end to this ‘crisis’ narrative in the near future. Quite the contrary – each new state of emergency unlocks a new level in the ongoing chain reaction of effects and policies. There seems to be no way out of experiencing multiple crises at once; we are caught in a constant state of flight.
When people are distracted someone is making profit
While millions lost their jobs or homes, the super-rich managed to increase their wealth by more than a quarter at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. This has sparked many heated debates about obscene amounts of money flooding into the portfolios of the already wealthy at a time when many face eviction, poverty, and other forms of loss. Because of long-standing racial and gender inequalities, low-wage workers, people of color and women have suffered disproportionately in these medical and economic crises.
Go digital, or go dark!
The stock market surge and lock-down economy have been a jackpot to tech monopolies. The video conferencing software Zoom has become a symbol of the movement of our social connections into the digital sphere, despite blatant privacy and security problems. A steadily growing number of people are seeking entertainment on streaming platforms, driving data traffic to unprecedented heights. As COVID-19 surges, the world’s biggest tech companies continue to report staggering profits. A contactless world, where the majority of our interactions and transactions take place in the digital realm, opens the doors to endless business opportunities.
So, the question arises: is the notion of permanent catastrophe possibly the last blow dealt by the age of finance capitalism? What if people had a chance to care for each other rather than becoming increasingly isolated? What if we started to train our collective imagination and began building patterns of solidarity in our immediate surroundings? The COVID-19 pandemic not only awakens our deepest fears, but also our sense of what is possible.
MoneyLab Berlin wants to shine a light on emerging communities that are starting to organize themselves around sustainable finance, inclusive tech, community-based currencies and progressive monetary systems.
Now for the first time in Berlin, the 11th edition of MoneyLab aims at creating space for utopias, experiments and radical ideas around an economy for the people and for the planet. Over the course of this event we will present creative coping strategies, answers to the problems of data capitalism, platform monopolies and online surveillance, as well as modes of resistance.
MoneyLab Berlin presented a wide range of talks, particpatory online formats and workshops, streamed live from the temporary MoneyLab studio located at SUPERMARKT in Berlin and our main partner’s venue, TRUST.
Select workshops were livestreamed, some of them offering the opportunity for remote participation. There was packed schedule of discussions and talks throughout the whole weekend of March 26-28, streamed live from our studios at SUPERMARKT and TRUST.
The detailed schedule for March 26-28 can be found here.
Artistic Director: Ela Kagel
Project Management: Aeon Hochberg
Technical Support: Streampark TV
Graphics / Artwork: Robin Hotz
Website: Stéphanie Boisset
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