Calculation, computation and crisis
Neoliberalism is commonly identified as a belief in the self-regulating powers of markets, especially financial markets. Markets, from this perspective, are powerful information-processors, which are uniquely capable of governing complex societies while preserving liberty. In recent decades, financial institutions have added further computational power, which, among other things, has led to the automation of trading and the calculation and simulation of market scenarios to manage risk. The financial crisis has been perceived by some as the outcome of this collision between markets and increasingly ‘performative’ economics.
But where does this leave neoliberalism and its technical ideal of freedom? Does it simply require more markets or greater computational power to prevent future crises? Or are we witnessing the emergence of a different neoliberalism, based on different technologies and ideologies of liberty, in appeals to ‘Big Data’ and ‘openness’? Might software and ‘open data’ usurp the primacy of the price system in the neoliberal imagination, as tools of governance in complex modern societies? To what extent are the political desires of the digital elite – from Hackers to Silicon Valley – amenable to the neoliberal project?
This one-day conference will address these questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including software studies, history of economics, political theory, media theory, international political economy and economic sociology.
· Prof Philip Mirowski, University of Notre Dame
· Prof Shirin Rai, University of Warwick
· Dr Richard Barbrook, University of Westminster
· Dr Orit Halpern, New School
· Dr David Berry, Swansea University
· Dr Johan Soderberg, Université Paris-Est/Écoles des Ponts
- Neoliberal responses to financial crisis
- The invention and reinvention of ‘competition’
- The philosophy and techniques of ‘openness’
- The persistence and reinvention of the market
- The intersections between neoliberalism and cybernetics
- The significance of data and ‘Big Data’ to the evolution of neoliberalism
- The role of specific devices in visions of freedom
- The political lineages of ‘hackers’
The conference is free to attend, but registration is essential. To register please click here.
Please send any enquiries regarding the conference to Will Davies at William.firstname.lastname@example.org