Dangerous game

‘One last dangerous game’, says Dolores to herself in the emptied world at the smoking end of four seasons of Westworld tragedies. What is that game? The series does not tell us, but ECSA is proposing one: a new form of economic intelligence and value-computing. Measures that do not collapse the qualitative concerns for well-being and being-with of those who currently are subjects of and subject to racial capitalism. A way to allow for the expression and persistence of qualitative values on a computational substrate, an economic medium, such that these values are capable of (collectively) organizing economy. This proposed re-organization of value production and thus also of sociality requires a re-casting of what we today think of as the real or natural economic forms indexed under notions including ‘equity’, ‘credit’ and (productive) ‘labor’. These traditional terms have been decomposed, grasped as social arrangements, and recomposed such that new conceptualizations and new types of actions and inflections – new socialities – become possible, while undervalued and marginalized traditional forms of sociality might thrive. In the ECSA operation, the protocols for constituting and holding equity become those for the distributed sharing of stake and thus for collectivizing risks and returns. The protocols for bank credit and monetary issuance become protocols for the peer-to-peer issuance of credit and for peer-to-peer credit clearing that is interoperable through a network of peers. The protocols for the organization of labor become protocols for the distributed assemblage of ‘performances’. Units of account become qualified measures and indices, devoted to the emergence of interoperable qualitative values. Economy moves from stranger-based to interpersonal to collective; the imperial organization of commodities by the accumulation of capital becomes the collection organization of sociality by all. Through this process of deconstruction and recomposition of actual and social computing, ECSA has developed a political-economic, computational strategy; a ‘play’, for economics and for futurity, in what may well be the ‘one last dangerous game’. It is dangerous not only because of the current conditions on planet Earth, but because ECSA accepts aspects of the power of the value form and of economic calculus to organize societies at scale. Even as we recognize the necessity for constellations of qualified local inputs that can persist on an economic substrate, we accept the need for large scale organization, economic interoperability and network-specific units of account. We actually propose that ‘economy’ needs to become more granular and more generalized. What needs to be altered is what the controls are, who has access to them, and the kind of literacy and feedback they require. For more, see Jonathan Beller (2023): On Economic Intelligence.

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