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175

Conclusion

4
terms
2
notes

Williams, A. and Srnicek, N. (2016). Conclusion. In Williams, A. and Srnicek, N. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. Verso, pp. 175-184

philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence in which the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world

175

Universalism always undoes itself, possessing its own resources for an immanent critique that insists and expands upon its ideals.

—p.175 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
2 years, 10 months ago

Universalism always undoes itself, possessing its own resources for an immanent critique that insists and expands upon its ideals.

—p.175 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
2 years, 10 months ago
177

a post-work world may generate immanent dynamics towards the rapid dissolution of capitalism, or the forces of reaction may co-opt the liberated desires under a new system of control. Concerns about the risks of political action have led parts of the contemporary left into a situation where they desire novelty, but a novelty without risk. Generic demands to experiment, create and prefigure are commonplace, but concrete proposals are all too often met with a wave of criticism outlining every possible point at which things might go wrong. In light of this dual tendency – for novelty, but against the risks inherent in social transformation – the allure of political ideas celebrating spontaneous ‘events’ becomes clearer. The event (as revolutionary rupture) becomes an expression of the desire for novelty without responsibility. The messianic event promises to shatter our stagnant world and bring us to a new stage of history, conveniently voided of the difficult work that is politics. The hard task ahead is to build new worlds while acknowledging that they will create novel problems. The best utopias are always riven by discord.

This imperative runs in opposition to the kind of precautionary principle that seeks to eliminate the contingency and risk involved in making decisions. On strong readings, the precautionary principle aims to convert epistemic uncertainty into a guardianship of the status quo, gently turning away those who would seek to build a better future with the imperative to ‘do more research’. We might also consider here that the precautionary principle contains an almost inherent lacuna: it ignores the risks of its own application. In seeking to err always on the side of caution, and hence of eliminating risk, it contains a blindness to the dangers of inaction and omission. While risks need to be reasonably hedged, a fuller appreciation of the travails of contingency implies that we are usually not better off taking the precautionary path. The precautionary principle is designed to close off the future and eliminate contingency, when in fact the contingency of high-risk adventures is precisely what leads to a more open future [...] Building the future means accepting the risk of unintended consequences and imperfect solutions. We may always be trapped, but at least we can escape into better traps.

this is great and weirdly DFW-esque

—p.177 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 10 months ago

a post-work world may generate immanent dynamics towards the rapid dissolution of capitalism, or the forces of reaction may co-opt the liberated desires under a new system of control. Concerns about the risks of political action have led parts of the contemporary left into a situation where they desire novelty, but a novelty without risk. Generic demands to experiment, create and prefigure are commonplace, but concrete proposals are all too often met with a wave of criticism outlining every possible point at which things might go wrong. In light of this dual tendency – for novelty, but against the risks inherent in social transformation – the allure of political ideas celebrating spontaneous ‘events’ becomes clearer. The event (as revolutionary rupture) becomes an expression of the desire for novelty without responsibility. The messianic event promises to shatter our stagnant world and bring us to a new stage of history, conveniently voided of the difficult work that is politics. The hard task ahead is to build new worlds while acknowledging that they will create novel problems. The best utopias are always riven by discord.

This imperative runs in opposition to the kind of precautionary principle that seeks to eliminate the contingency and risk involved in making decisions. On strong readings, the precautionary principle aims to convert epistemic uncertainty into a guardianship of the status quo, gently turning away those who would seek to build a better future with the imperative to ‘do more research’. We might also consider here that the precautionary principle contains an almost inherent lacuna: it ignores the risks of its own application. In seeking to err always on the side of caution, and hence of eliminating risk, it contains a blindness to the dangers of inaction and omission. While risks need to be reasonably hedged, a fuller appreciation of the travails of contingency implies that we are usually not better off taking the precautionary path. The precautionary principle is designed to close off the future and eliminate contingency, when in fact the contingency of high-risk adventures is precisely what leads to a more open future [...] Building the future means accepting the risk of unintended consequences and imperfect solutions. We may always be trapped, but at least we can escape into better traps.

this is great and weirdly DFW-esque

—p.177 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 10 months ago

an unfilled space; a gap (plural: lacunae)

177

On strong readings, the precautionary principle aims to convert epistemic uncertainty into a guardianship of the status quo, gently turning away those who would seek to build a better future with the imperative to ‘do more research’. We might also consider here that the precautionary principle contains an almost inherent lacuna: it ignores the risks of its own application. In seeking to err always on the side of caution, and hence of eliminating risk, it contains a blindness to the dangers of inaction and omission.

—p.177 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
2 years, 10 months ago

On strong readings, the precautionary principle aims to convert epistemic uncertainty into a guardianship of the status quo, gently turning away those who would seek to build a better future with the imperative to ‘do more research’. We might also consider here that the precautionary principle contains an almost inherent lacuna: it ignores the risks of its own application. In seeking to err always on the side of caution, and hence of eliminating risk, it contains a blindness to the dangers of inaction and omission.

—p.177 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
2 years, 10 months ago

a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles

179

The boot-strapping expansionary process of technology, once liberated from capitalist fetters, can potentiate both positive and negative freedoms. It can form the basis for a fully postcapitalist economy, enabling a shift away from scarcity, work and exploitation, and towards the full development of humanity.

—p.179 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
2 years, 10 months ago

The boot-strapping expansionary process of technology, once liberated from capitalist fetters, can potentiate both positive and negative freedoms. It can form the basis for a fully postcapitalist economy, enabling a shift away from scarcity, work and exploitation, and towards the full development of humanity.

—p.179 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
notable
2 years, 10 months ago

(noun) the mind in its hypothetical primary blank or empty state before receiving outside impressions / (noun) something existing in its original pristine state (philosophy)

181

Without tabulae rasase or miraculous events, it is within the tendencies and affordances of our world today that we must locate the resources from which to build a new hegemony.

forgot the meaning

—p.181 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
uncertain
2 years, 10 months ago

Without tabulae rasase or miraculous events, it is within the tendencies and affordances of our world today that we must locate the resources from which to build a new hegemony.

forgot the meaning

—p.181 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek
uncertain
2 years, 10 months ago
183

[...] We must expand our collective imagination beyond what capitalism allows. Rather than settling for marginal improvements in battery life and computer power, the left should mobilise dreams of decarbonising the economy, space travel, robot economies – all the traditional touchstones of science fiction – in order to prepare for a day beyond capitalism. Neoliberalism, as secure as it may seem today, contains no guarantee of future survival. Like every social system we have ever known, it will not last forever. Our task now is to invent what happens next.

—p.183 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 10 months ago

[...] We must expand our collective imagination beyond what capitalism allows. Rather than settling for marginal improvements in battery life and computer power, the left should mobilise dreams of decarbonising the economy, space travel, robot economies – all the traditional touchstones of science fiction – in order to prepare for a day beyond capitalism. Neoliberalism, as secure as it may seem today, contains no guarantee of future survival. Like every social system we have ever known, it will not last forever. Our task now is to invent what happens next.

—p.183 by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 2 years, 10 months ago