Over the past two centuries or so, capitalism has undergone continual change – economic cycles that lurch from boom to bust – and has always emerged transformed and strengthened. Surveying this turbulent history, journalist and Channel 4 economics news editor Paul Mason wonders whether this time capitalism itself has reached its limits and is changing into something wholly new.
At the heart of this change is information technology: a revolution that has the potential to reshape utterly our familiar notions of work, production and value; and to destroy an economy based on markets and private ownership. Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swathes of economic life are changing. Goods and services that no longer respond to the dictates of neoliberalism are appearing, from parallel currencies and time banks, to cooperatives and self-managed online spaces. Vast numbers of people are changing their behaviour, discovering new forms of ownership, lending and doing business that are distinct from, and contrary to, the current system of state-backed corporate capitalism.
This talk was organised by and recorded at the RSA.