MoneyLab Berlin: March 26-28, 2021
Statement by Ela Kagel, SUPERMARKT Berlin
MoneyLab #11: Disaster Capitalism
This first edition of MoneyLab Berlin is inspired by Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism from 2007. Kleins work centers on the exploitation of crises to establish controversial and questionable policies, while citizens are too distracted, emotionally and physically, to engage and develop an adequate response. When everyone is consumed by crises, no energy is left for resistance.
Facets of crisis capitalism
We have been living in a crisis mode for years: from the financial crisis to the climate crisis to the worldwide health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. An end of the ‘crisis’ narrative is not foreseeable in the near future. Quite the contrary: each new state of emergency unlocks a new level in the ongoing chain reaction of effects and policies. There seems to be no chance for us to get out of the multiple crises – we are caught in a constant escape mode.
When people are distracted someone is making profit
The wealth of US-billionaires has risen to $10.2 trillion amid the current Covid-19 crisis. While millions lost their jobs or suffered from homelessness, the super-rich managed to increase their fortunes by more than a quarter at the height of the crisis in 2020. This has raised concerns about obscene amounts of money flooding into the portfolios of the already wealthy, at a time when many face eviction, poverty, and loss. Because of long-standing racial and gender disparities, low-wage workers, people of color and women have suffered disproportionately in these combined medical and economic crises.
Go digital, or go dark!
The stock market surge and lock-down economy have been a boon to tech monopolies. The video conferencing software Zoom has become a symbol of the digital migration of our social contacts, despite blatant privacy and security problems. A steadily growing number of people are seeking entertainment on streaming platforms, driving data traffic to unprecedented heights. As Covid-10 surges, the world’s biggest tech companies report staggering profits. In a contactless world, the vast majority of interactions and transactions must take place virtually. This opens the doors to endless business opportunities.
So, the question arises: is the permanent catastrophe notion possibly the last push of the age of finance capitalism? What if people had a chance to care for each other rather than becoming increasingly isolated? What if we started to train our collective imagination and began building patterns of solidarity in our immediate surroundings? The Covid 19-pandemic not only awakens our deepest fears, but also our sense of what is possible.
MoneyLab Berlin wants to shine a light on emerging communities that are starting to organize themselves around sustainable finance, inclusive tech, community-based currencies and progressive monetary systems.
This 11th MoneyLab edition, now for the first time in Berlin, aims at creating space for utopias, experiments and radical ideas of an economy for people and planet. In the course of this event we will present creative coping strategies, answers to the phenomena of data capitalism, platform monopolies and online surveillance, as well as modes of resistance.
What to expect
The event will be starting off on Friday, March 26th, 2021 with an opening ceremony at the temporary MoneyLab studio located at SUPERMARKT in Berlin. We will stream a live program from the studio to our remote guests and speakers in order to engage everyone in participatory online formats.
On Saturday, 27th-Sunday, 28th, the local Berlin audience has a chance to participate in a workshop parcours in various locations in the city. Each of these locations is a hub in this growing scene of a commons-based, contributive economy in Berlin. This decentralized workshop parcours will apply any health and safety measures necessary to keep people safe during the event. More info to follow shortly!
For those following the event remotely, we will live stream some of the workshops. For some of them, even remote participation is possible. There will be a track of discussions and talks throughout the whole weekend, streamed live from our studio at SUPERMARKT and at our main partner’s venue, TRUST.
Stay tuned for programme updates in the coming weeks!
MoneyLab Berlin partners and contributors:
The international MoneyLab community and MoneyLab board, namely: Geert Lovink, Akseli Virtanen, Pekko Koskinen, Denise Thwaites, Nataniel Tkacz, Max Haiven.
Trust – Incubator for Utopian Conspiracy: Arthur Röing Baer, Calum Bowden.
Platform Cooperatives Germany eG: Andreas Arnold, Claudia Henke, Ela Kagel
The Sphere: Erik Bordelieu, Yael Sherill, Olle Strandberg, Sarah de Vylder
Economic Space Agency: Akseli Virtanen, Pekko Koskinen
Circles – Basic Income on the Blockchain & Café Grundeinkommen Berlin: Blanka Vay, Julio Linares
Coop Space Berlin: Felix Weth
Social Coin: Valentin Seehausen
DisCO: Anne Marie Utratel, Stacco Troncoso
MoneyLab Discord group: https://discord.com/channels/782253798965772288/782253798965772292