There has been increasing interest and debate in recent years on the instituted nature of economic processes in general and the related ideas of the market and the competitive process in particular. This debate lies at the interface between two largely independent disciplines, economics and sociology, and reflects an attempt to bring the two fields of discourse more closely together. This book explores this interface in a number of ways, looking at the competitive process and market relations from a number of different perspectives. It considers the social role of economic institutions in society and examines the various meanings embedded in the word 'markets', as well as developing arguments on the nature of competition as an instituted economic process. The close of the twentieth century saw a virtual canonisation of markets as the best, indeed the only really effective, way to govern an economic system. The market organisation being canonised was simple and pure, along the lines of the standard textbook model in economics. The book discusses the concepts of polysemy , idealism, cognition, materiality and cultural economy. Michael Best provides an account of regional economic adaptation to changed market circumstances. This is the story of the dynamics of capitalism focused on the resurgence of the Route 128 region around Boston following its decline in the mid-1980s in the face of competition from Silicon Valley. The book also addresses the question of how this resurgence was achieved.
, necessary ignorance.
Unfortunately for post-humanitarianism, however, it has little to offer in return –
other, that is, than timely value-added information such that the precariat can positively enjoy
the experience of its own abjection.
While important, current concerns over data privacy and the power of SiliconValley are
secondary to these paradigmatic changes. Things like privacy can be addressed. Changes in the
way the world is understood, experienced and interrogated represent a greater political and
, suggested that industry in Massachusetts was in terminal decline. Combined with the setbacks in these major
markets was the emerging prominence of SiliconValley, which was fostering
and commercialising innovations much faster than was Route 128, and often
in the same technologies. Clearly, few were willing to bet on the resurgence
of Route 128.
Nevertheless, the predictions of industrial gloom turned out to be wrong,
or at least premature. A return to growth beginning in 1992 long surpassed
the ‘Massachusetts’ Miracle’.2 Why the rise, the crash, and the rise again
technology as control technology
Contemporary examples that fit squarely into this category are Jonathan Taplin's Move Fast and Break Things (2017), and Jamie Bartlett's The People versus Tech (2018). Both make the case for the erosion of democracy by the tech corporations and their products – and both point to the consolidation of power in the new digital economy's heartland. Bartlett's book asks if we have ‘unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of SiliconValley utopians, ad men, and
’ of SiliconValley. O’Hearn argues, for
example, that US computer and pharmaceutical companies have set the
tone for the ‘Celtic Tiger’, which has transformed the economic, social
and cultural make-up of the country.12 Whether the economic growth of
the ‘Celtic Tiger’ is perceived to have set the scene for the cultural transformation of Ireland, or conversely whether cultural development is
thought to have set the scene for economic growth, we have here an
argument that Ireland can be historically and economically placed as
‘American’. Recent Irish political and
causation to account for the continuing weak presence
of the UK in the software product segments of the global market.
In the final chapter, Michael Best provides an account of regional economic
adaptation to changed market circumstances. This is the story of the dynamics of capitalism focused on the resurgence of the Route 128 region around
Boston following its decline in the mid-1980s in the face of competition from
SiliconValley. The chapter addresses the question of how this resurgence was
achieved. The core of the explanation is that a new model of business had to
poring over the temple architectures of the giant corporations in SiliconValley in search of the ‘DNA’ of their owners and the character of what is (only very partially) made within their grounds. To read a homogeneous ‘global’ narrative of computerization off from this central dashboard is to misrecognize the significance of the location of material (as well as immaterial) production, the specific experience and use conditions of billions of instantiated users, and the complexity of the flow of technologies, ideas, and workers to and from the dominant hubs. Indeed
SiliconValley and its virtual suburbs have demonstrated that this history of alignment is more complex and certainly more partial than is often suggested. Such works have explored the diverse connections between the technology innovators and the counter-cultural movements of the 1960s and early 1970s (Levy, 1984 , Cringley, 1996 , Turner, 2006 ), and there is also the evidence of this to be found in Whole Earth Review (and perhaps in publications such as Ted Nelson's Computer Liberation ). Fred Turner's work on Stuart Brand (the Whole Earth creator), for
, 1987), p. 282.
Judith Stacey, ‘Sexism by a Subtler Name? Postindustrial
Conditions and Postfeminist Consciousness in the SiliconValley’, Socialist
Review , 96 (1987), 7–28.
Julie Ewington, ‘Past the Post: Postmodernism and
Postfeminism’, in C. Moore (ed.), Dissonance: Feminism and the Arts
1970–90 (St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1994), pp. 109–21.
Charlotte Brunsdon, Screen Tastes: Soap Opera to Satellite
the British government but vociferously
opposed and held in contempt by the Germans, and indeed much of the
social democratic polity. 58 Instead, their platform protection against
SiliconValley venture capital-backed attempts to overturn
European-regulated accommodation and taxi services, amongst others, is
daily backed by those constituencies on which business travellers