Speaking about possible social, cultural and political contexts of recent biomedicine and biotech — Slavoj Zizek has again provided some analytical ammunition!
In the last issue of the LRB, he ironizes over the fusion of Davos and Porto Allegre (or what the rest of us, the enthusiastic readers of Hardt & Negri, call Empire and Multitude) into the “Porto Davos”, the global community of “liberal capitalists”: Bill Gates and George Soros, and the CEOs of Google, IBM, Intel, and eBay.
The “signifier” of this new class is to be “smart”, and being smart means “being dynamic and nomadic, and against centralised bureaucracy; believing in dialogue and co-operation as against central authority; in flexibility as against routine; culture and knowledge as against industrial production; in spontaneous interaction and autopoiesis as against fixed hierarchy”.
Is this just a Google phenomenon? Is Craig Venter in the smart crowd? Did I hear someone say smart biotechnologies? And did I hear Richard Florida’s name mentioned?