Aaron Bastani’s much-hyped Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto (FALC) woefully misunderstands Marx, capitalism and class struggle.
The immediate impression one is left with after reading FALC is that it appears to have had two authors. One is a techno-optimist; the other is autocratic, with firm views both about which technologies should be developed and which should be avoided – and also, more tellingly, about how people should live under them. Parts of the book anticipate a brave and exciting new world enabled by technological developments, while other parts are imbued with today’s illiberal and constraining zeitgeist. One author emphasises that the future is not determined, but can be shaped by politics, while the other sees capitalism as following a predetermined process of collapsing under its own contradictions. One pays homage to the ideas of the Enlightenment. The other’s prescriptions negate the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and risk-taking.
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