Provocation # 206 MonopolyEconomics prides itself on mathematical sophistication, yet..
Following up on the previous Post
The functioning of the market is toward monopoly because those with power and money can acquire more power and money at cheeper prices than those with less. We sort of know this, but do we imagine our way to the outcome? Mirowski’s Machine Dreams proposed that the aim of economics is to create s a single system of all interconnected computers. Because computers are based on 0-1 the impression is given that they are already commensurate and programming can create all the useful interconnections.
The obvious example is the blending of the data of national security with that from broad based consumerism. The tendency is to have consumers interact with producers ont through large computer networks, in this case, so far, Amazon. Who among government, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft will be the first to buy one of the others? We are moving toward a time when in practice, if not law, only those transactions mediated by Amazon’s computers will be legitimate, and all produces know that the only way to reach the customers is through the amazon network. All malls and retail outlets are going out of business and mailed catalogues reach only a Few.
The security perspective can already identify those who are the enemies of that emerging system. The only way monopolization fails is in places where the system is somehow locally broken.
Economics is at the center of this emergent monopoly yet it seems not to be discussed much within economics, despite how obvious it is. Yet its graduates go off to jobs to manage its emergence, the final realization that all data is interconnected through a single monopoly owned business protected by the national security state.
Big data will emerge as the mangement and governance structure of society. No need to vote because Amazon knows your preferences. Google has photoed your street, it is all put together. Who you are is now more clearly represented in the amazon-google-gov nexus than you are known to yourself. “Relax”, they say, “you are taken cae of.” But the reality is they take care of themselves with cash flow through the nexus to themselves, the few. This fact will be hidden from the press and the networks.
The problem with big data is that it can ferret out some measurable element that is, however small, present in much of the population, but it misses entirely what is powerful and idiosyncratic to only a few.
The trouble is that if something goes wrong, like a hyper-energized climate that threatens major players in the monopoly tending system, no action will be taken.
Fred Hoyle, the cosmologist, proposed in his Ten Faces of the Universe (1977) that the reson we are not visited by other planets is because no civilization as solved the political problem of how to survive internal political civil wars while developing the technical sophistication that would allow them to arrive here.
Good background to this line of thinking is in the Youtube interview by Naomi Klein of Shoshana Zuboff about her book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. My view is that the interview is much better than the book but the book is rich in detail.
Why is it, that in politics and economics, the more penetrating and and humane books are being written by women, not men? My understanding, which could be wrong, is that women, not given access to the standard career paths, had to find other ways, and this kept them on the sidelines from which a better perspective can be gained than for those in the mainstream. Not being in the spotlight they are left freer to think.