Tomislav Medak – Disrupting Technological Change

In his Labour and Monopoly Capital Harry Braverman impresses on the reader that the ‘key to innovation is not to be found in … any of the products of [the] science-technologies, but rather in the transformation of science itself into capital’. Technological change is a multifactorial processes, yet its social character is black-boxed in the prevailing dogma that innovation spontaneous, inevitable and best left to the invisible hand of the market. In my presentation I’ll posit that the fatalist blather on the coming automation with its anticipation of mass unemployment obfuscates the aggregate substance of technological development under capitalism: re-structuring of capital-labor relations. Looking at the long history of productivity-enhancing methods and impact the process of technological change has had on the composition of global labor force over past decades, I’ll caution to skepticism toward taking these predictions at face value. Capitalism projects its own development and labor should stake its bets against this development. Hence I’ll highlight how a ‘Luddite’ disruption of the unquestioned business-as-usual of technological innovation rather than boosterism of post-work Elysium is fundamental to re-politicizing the future social development.

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