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Open Access Automated Neoliberalism? The Digital Organisation of Markets In Technoscientific Capitalism

This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

The core contradiction in neoliberalism (studies) is that markets are organised and require significant bureaucratic coordination and governance. In light of the increasingly technoscientific nature of contemporary capitalism, it is important to examine exactly how markets are organised and their governance configured by digital processes. In this article, I argue that the entanglement of digital technoscience and capitalism has led to an 'automated neoliberalism' in which markets are configured by digital platforms, personal lives are transformed through the accumulation of personal data, and social relations are automated through algorithms, distributed electronic ledgers, and rating systems. Two issues arise as a result of these changes: first, are markets being automated away, in that market exchange no longer underpins social organisation? And second, does individual and social reflexivity problematise techno-economic automation, in that new platforms, data assets, ranking algorithms, etc. are all dependent on individuals telling the 'truth'? My aim in this article is to answer these questions and to consider the political implications of automated neoliberalism and our reflexive enrolment in it.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

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  • new formations is an inter-disciplinary journal of culture, politics and theory. It covers a wide range of issues, from the seduction of perversity to questions of nationalism and postcolonialism.

    'essential reading for those who want to understand politics in the light of the most important trends in contemporary theory' Chantal Mouffe.

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