Joan Carles Valero: Argocapitalism


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The psychological disorder known as “fear of missing something” (FOMO by its English initials) proliferates. That new form of anxiety doesn’t just take its toll on young people. It is suffered by those who compulsively consult their technological devices. Fortunately, we Spaniards asserted our human condition when we challenged Google in 2011 by claiming our “right to be forgotten.” It was a historic milestone, an early warning of the nightmare that was coming because the digital future was not going to be as fair and democratic as it was initially presented. A new market has emerged from the technological evolution of capitalism: the behavioral futures market. A reality business where predictions about people’s behavior are bought and sold, thanks to the raw material of all aspects of the human experience that we constantly give away to the technological platforms with which we interact.

Professor Enrique López, in his entrance speech as a tenured academic of the Royal Academy of Economic and Financial Sciences (RACEF), has developed the concept of argocapitalism in the era of digital approach as the predictive or anticipatory face of behavior (data management ) inspired by the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts. The vision of the Orwellian Big Brother State has mutated into an omnipresent digital architecture that configures a «Big Other», in the words of Shoshana Zudoff, author of «The era of surveillance capitalism» (Paidós).

The bees are not democrats, but socially they are perfectly organized with criteria of maximum efficiency. This vision of hive society is derived from the predictions that can be made about our behaviors and desires, thanks to data mining from our digital interaction. It has been possible to verify in Asia with mobile health applications to deal with Covid-19, which we all accept as long as anonymity is guaranteed. The secondary behavioral data stored in the cache of our technological devices constitutes a true and wide sensor of our behavior, so that those who patrimonize those mines that capture the behavioral surplus will be the masters of the world. An all-encompassing power outside of regulation, because technology moves much faster than any public administration.

Joan Carles ValeroJoan Carles Valero

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