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BITS Symposium. Technological Sovereignty and the Crisis of Capitalism (Day 2)


9th December 2016




Auditori Fundació Tàpies


The BITS Symposium will stimulate a global debate about the changing meanings of sovereignty and explore the ways in which various types of sovereignty – of citizens, cities, nation states, and regions – can still be maintained in today’s highly technological global conditions. With a strong focus on the political effects of technological change, BITS will explore how the rise of Technology platforms and the data extractivism they enable is transforming governments, labor, ownership, and access to the basics of life such as water, food, housing, and energy. This task is particularly important as the current political and economic regime reformulates itself around the rhetorical and practical kernel of digital technology, with a new mighty alliance between technology firms, global finance, and the military-industrial complex.


Conference Videos:

Session 4: Transcending the State, Transcending Capitalism?

Leslie Sklair, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics, delivers a lecture on the transnational capitalist class, the crisis of capitalism and the hierarchic state. He highlights the problems caused by the capitalist globalization and suggests that the solution lies in the digital revolution. Sklair identifies various actions that would lead to a change of the system: ignoring the market, degrowth, changing mentalities, changing parenting and creating networks of producer-consumer cooperatives. Evgeny Morozov moderates the open debate that follows.

Session 5: Elites and Power Brokers

Inderjeet Parmar, Professor of International Politics at City University, presents a keynote on the elite power-knowledge networks and their role in the US hegemonic system of power. Parmar argues that politics, technology, industry and elite networks played key roles in processes that led to Trump, the rise of the populist right in Europe and the current crisis. Yet, it is too early to conclude that there has been a revolution against the old elite order. Kees van der Pijl, Professor Emeritus, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, responds to the keynote arguing that the establishment of foundations allows the rich to turn their power into real class power. Open debate follows moderated by Anthony Arnove.

Session 6: Data Sovereignty and New Forms of Democracy

Panel discussion on data sovereignty and new forms of democracy moderated by Joan Subirats, IGOP Barcelona. Panelists: Alex Hache (Donestech), Jonathan Gray (Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath), Tamar Sharon (Maastricht University) and Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College London).

Closing Session