On some of the affects of capitalism
Lecture given at the end of an AIME workshop in Copenhagen on the invitation of the Danish Royal Academy of Science. The text can be read here.
I will take capitalism to mean not a thing in the world, but a certain way of being affected when trying to think through this strange mixture of miseries and luxuries we encounter when trying to come to terms with the dizzying interplays of “goods” and “bads”. Capitalism is a concept invented to help absorb this odd mixture of enthusiasm for the cornucopia of riches that has lifted billions of people out of abject poverty and the indignation, rage and fury in response to the miseries visited on billions of other people. Especially troubling to me is the feeling of helplessness that is associated with any discussion of economics and that I have so much trouble reconciling with what I consider science’s and politics’ main effects, these being the opening of new possibilities and the provision of margins to maneuver.