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Not Evenly Distributed | When the Beautifully Complex Houses the Predatory

Posted on 24 June 2016 in News
'The Ascendant Accumulation of Error', Hilary Koob-Sassen, 2015. (Presented at the ICA, London, December 2015

Saskia Sassen brings us the next post in the series based on the author’s new book ‘Expulsions’, published by Columbia University.

One of the major recent challenges in the struggle for a more just society has been the emergence of what I will call ‘complex knowledge systems’ that, while they often contain admirable elements, can in the end merely lead to elementary brutalities. These systems have expanded alongside the shift of capitalism from what I would call its traditional mode – one of evolution, development, or progress – to a more advanced phase, characterised by predatory dynamics.

Complex Knowledge? Yes, but…

These admirable knowledge systems include aspects – and only that – of digital technologies, but also advanced legal and accounting systems, algorithmic mathematics, high-level logistics, and more. I would argue that often their complexity easily camouflages their predatory character. There is often no self-evident brutality as we might see it in a sweatshop.

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[Image: ‘The Ascendant Accumulation of Error’, Hilary Koob-Sassen, 2015. (Presented at the ICA, London, December 2015).