'Filosofía pirata, edición libre', discussion with Perro Tuerto y Pucho (El Rancho Electrónico) y Gabriela Méndez Cota (Universidad Iberoamericana) for the Mexico city radio station Ibero, September 12, 2019.

Open Humanities Press – The Inhumanist Manifesto

Pirate Philosophy, This Is Not A Pipe Podcast

HyperCritical Theory

Übercapitalism and What Can Be Done About It

Recent publications

Masked Media (limited edition paper-only publication for The House That Heals The Soul exhibition, Tetley, Leeds, 2018) 

 The Inhumanist Manifesto: Extended Play (Techne Lab, 2017)

Open Access

Most of Gary's work is freely available to read and download either here in Media Gifts or in Coventry University's online repositories PURE here, and CURVE here 

Radical Open Access

« Rethinking Gamification and meson press | Main | PhD Studentships in Digital Media »

A Very Brief History of Neoliberalism: From the Open Society to the Sharing Economy

As is well known, one of the main influences underpinning the interest of the UK Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government in open access, open data, open education and open government is Karl Popper’s philosophy of scientific method. For Popper, ideas are true only until they can be proved false. He thus emphasises the importance of having an open society to enable its ideas to be constantly tested through scientific experimentation as a means of guarding against authoritarianism.

In keeping with the neoliberal desire to minimise the role played by the state in society, the coalition government have adopted a variation of Popper’s philosophy to justify reforming public services. They have done so on the grounds that it is not just the state that knows how to supply such services – a multiplicity of others do too, including privately owned for-profit businesses. The relevant information and data, including that produced by academic research, therefore needs to be made openly available to the public so that ideas of how such services can be provided and funded can likewise be subject to continual testing and experimentation. And indeed privatisation.

Interestingly, however, a number of texts published just this month - Mike Bulajewski’s 'The Cult of Sharing', Evgeny Morozov’s 'What You Whistle in the Shower: How Much for Your Data?' – have begun to portray this opening up of information, data and services as part of a further shift still. It is a shift in which state regulated service intermediaries like hotels and taxi companies are replaced by information and data management intermediaries such as the sharing economy start-ups Airbnb (a community marketplace for renting out rooms) and Uber (an app that enables passengers to connect with a taxi, private car or rideshare using their mobile phones).

As far as comprehending the latest developments in contemporary neoliberalism is concerned, the important point to note is that, by avoiding pre-emptive state regulation, these profit-driven sharing economy businesses are able to operate according to what can be understood as both a pre- and post-welfare state model: 'social protections for workers are minimal, they have to take on risks previously assumed by their employers, and there are almost no possibilities for collective bargaining'. It is a situation that often leaves those providing services on the platforms of these sharing economy companies labouring for less than the minimum wage and without a host of workers’ rights. The list of lost benefits is certainly a long one. It includes 'the right to have employers pay social security, disability and unemployment insurance taxes, the right to family and medical leave, workers’ compensation protection, sick pay, retirement benefits, profit sharing plans, protection from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin, or wrongful termination for becoming pregnant, or reporting sexual harassment or other types of employer wrongdoing'.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>