Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Will Reading Piketty Help MSNBC's Cyclists to Step Back From Their Undercritical Technophilia and Its Reactionary Implications?

Like everybody else, I'm reading Thomas Piketty right now, and I'm personally finding it quite strong but utterly unsurprising. It's hard to believe anybody who actually reads (even critically) Marx, Polanyi, Keynes, Harvey is going to find surprising Piketty's scrupulously documented demonstration that wealth concentration can only be checked by steeply progressive taxation toward public investment to ensure equitable recourse to the law to the diversity of its stakeholders and enjoyment through general welfare of an informed nonduressed scene of consent to the terms of everyday commerce for all. I must say I was especially encouraged by the following response to Piketty's scholarly tome from Krystal Ball. The brat pundit pack of MSNBC's The Cycle have often seemed to me in their rather egregious shared technofixations to represent what I fear and decry as the special liberal susceptibility to reactionary political formulations via an undercritical technophilia mistaken for a championing of secular science, education, and technology investment. I talked about the MSNBC's Cyclists on this score already here, and have made the more general point here and here, for example. That Krystal Ball frames her comments with a Matrix reference feels very silly and also very true to type, but I can forgive that awkward hyperbole if Piketty really has managed to disabuse her of the fantasy that "technology has created a meritocracy" as she has claimed it has done. If fewer meme-hustlers, designer-technocratic would-be aristos, and libertechbrotarians find their way to the guest spot for the Cyclists to swap spit and futurological buzzwords with in days to come it will be all to the good.

PS: And now for something completely different, since I have found myself talking about the Cycle, now is as good a time as there is likely ever to be for me to say that since the Cycle still seems wedded to pretending to represent the range of political positions -- from A to B, as Dorothy Parker liked to say -- I must say I prefer token-Republican Abby Huntsman's deer in the headlights affect over token-Republican S.E. Cupp's Snidely Whiplash impersonation. Republicans should be scared.

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