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#18 - Reinventing Capitalism—Really? Hayek’s Theory of Prices, Technology, and the Yelp Mafia

Today, Jason and Juan Pablo discuss political theorist Evgeny Morozov’s article, “Digital Socialism? The Calculation Debate in the Age of Big Data” (NLR, 2019,…igital-socialism). In this article, Morozov critiques the idea that technology will somehow reinvent capitalism. He argues that technology-enabled capitalism (technology within the logic of markets) is STILL capitalism and thus it does not escape challenges produced or compounded by capitalism. However, what if technology enablers could be applied beyond the realm of capitalism? Morozov posits that the public sphere could apply modern technologies (e.g. social media, knowledge management platforms, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, etc.) to efficiently coordinate and solve problems outside the markets. Fascinating! But Jason and Juan Pablo are skeptical. Maybe not for the reasons you expect... In this episode, we address: the Austrian-British economist Friedrich Hayek’s successful theory of the relationships between knowledge, prices, and human behavior; markets vs. non-markets vs. new markets; existing technology enablers and how they map across the private and public spheres; challenges associated with technology ownership and maintaining a democratic process; and the problem of turning knowledge into meaningful action. We also harken back to our ongoing debate surrounding whether massive financial incentives are required to inspire innovation or make people want to solve the world’s most pressing social challenges. For more on this, listen to our previous “listener case study” episode called, “The Protestant Ethic, Instrumentalizing Everything, and Devotion to Work.”

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