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. Klein’s work centers on the exploitation of different crises to establish controversial policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted to engage and develop an adequate response. When everyone is consumed by crises, there is no energy left for resistance.
Facets of crisis capitalism
We have been living in crisis mode for years, from the financial and climate crises to the worldwide health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is no foreseeable end to this ‘crisis’ narrative 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 way out of experiencing multiple crises at once; we are caught in a constant state of flight.
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 homes, the super-rich managed to increase their fortunes by more than a quarter at the height of the crisis in 2020. This has sparked many heated debates about obscene amounts of money flooding into the portfolios of the already wealthy at a time when many face eviction, poverty, and other forms of loss. Because of long-standing racial and gender inequalities, 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 movement of our social connections into the digital sphere, 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-19 surges, the world’s biggest tech companies continue to report staggering profits. In a contactless world, the vast majority of our interactions and transactions must take place virtually. This opens the doors to endless business opportunities.
So, the question arises: is the notion of permanent catastrophe possibly the last blow dealt by 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.
Now for the first time in Berlin, the 11th edition of MoneyLab aims at creating space for utopias, experiments and radical ideas around an economy for the people and for the planet. Over the course of this event we will present creative coping strategies, answers to the problems of data capitalism, platform monopolies and online surveillance, as well as modes of resistance.
What to expect
The event will start 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 for our remote guests and speakers in order to engage everyone in online participatory formats.
From Saturday the 27th to Sunday the 28th, the local Berlin audience will have a chance to participate in a series of workshops at various locations throughout the city. Each of these locations is a hub in the growing scene around commons-based, contributive economy in Berlin. In compliance with current official COVID-19 regulations, this decentralized workshop circuit will apply all health and hygiene measures necessary to keep people safe during the event. More info to follow shortly!
For those following the event remotely, select workshops will be livestreamed, some of them even offering the opportunity for remote participation. There will be a lineup 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 program 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 Bordeleau, 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
Furtherfield / DECAL: Ruth Catlow
MoneyLab Berlin is supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin and the Institute of Network Cultures Amsterdam. We would like to thank both institutions for their support!
Get in touch:
Please join our MoneyLab Discord group