The Political Economy of Hacking – Accelerate, Augment, or Abolish the Markets?

Circle 6: Appropriating Technology for Societal Change

26th of July – 2nd of August, Saulkrasti, Latvia

Deadline for applications: sun 14th of May


Theme of the symposium

Technology disrupt markets. It is open to debate, however, what this implies for the future of the market economy. Some hackers and activists look forward to the day when technological progress has abolished the need for market exchanges. For instance, self-acclaimed pirates strive to make intellectual property unenforceable with file sharing protocols. Hobby-engineers develop self-reproducing 3D printers under the slogan: “wealth-without-money”. The digital currency Faircoin has been launched as a more equitable alternative to the existing monetary system. Peer production, exemplified in free software development, is showcased as a non-coercive model for organizing work. Towering above these initiatives is basic income as a redistributive principle, arguably better adjusted to the age of full automation.

The post-capitalist future envisioned by some hackers and activists contrasts with the “accelerationist” vision. According to the latter viewpoint, it is not markets but monopolies, guild privileges, and state regulations that are unsettled by technological breakthroughs. Virtual reality paves the way for “augmented property”, block-chain technology unlocks new areas of the lifeworld to just-in-time monetary flows, and computerization allows work to be parceled up in ever finer tasks and micropayments. Whose utopia will carry the day – you are invited to take part in the discussion!

Relevant themes for presentations may include, but is not limited to, the following questions:

  • Is peer production still on the agenda after the rise of the “sharing economy”?
  • Is basic income the answer to automation and jobless growth?
  • What are the identities of future workers: employees, turkers, makers?
  • How is wealth distribution affected by platform capitalism?
  • What new avenues of marketization will be opened-up with block-chain technology?
  • Can alternative currencies be designed to fix the monetary system?
  • Historical perspectives on the rise of peer production/platform capitalism/sharing economy
  • Theoretical perspectives at the intersection of hacking, high-tech markets, and labour

Format of the presentation

Presentation of work:

We wish to facilitate debates and therefore encourage free oral presentation rather than reading from a paper. A presentation should aim for 20-30 min., leaving time for discussions.


You can offer to present a text (own writing or a published text) which has been distributed beforehand to the participants. The text should not exceed 25 pages. The presentation must give a short introduction of the argumentation allowing participants to engage in discussion.

Submit via email. Deadline, 14th of May, 2017:

  1. A written proposal (ca 350 words) with a title, its format its duration.
  2. A short bio (ca 100 words).

Submit to: and

If you would like to attend the symposium without presenting, please email a short bio. Participants with presentations will be given priority. Preliminary program will be announced on 15th of May on Late submissions will continued to be considered, until the maximum number of participants is reached.

Application process and registration

The application process has two steps:

(1) Application to coordinators for acceptance of presentation or participation without presentation.

(2) After you have been accepted, the next step is registration and payments, which closes on 1st of June. All registration and payment will be done electronically.

Note if you apply for participating late, payment must still be completed 1st of June.

Keynote speakers at NSU

  • Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iceland.
  • Cecilia Malmström Olsson, freelance dance researcher, writer, lecturer.