#rp19 speaker Oliver Nachtwey: A new spirit of capitalism from Silicon Valley?

Oliver Nachtwey teaches societal structure analysis. He researches the transformation of labour, societal modernization and its impact on social structure. His work also highlights the transformation of political representation, protest and social movements. He recently focuses on the effects of digitization on society.

What are you currently working on that might be part of your talk at re:publica?
I'll take up Max Weber's old question on the cultural foundations of capitalism.

Capitalism always needed a cultural driving force outside of economy. In his study "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", sociologist Max Weber traced the expansion of capitalism back to an elective affinity of religious ethics and the corresponding understanding of labour and lifestyle. Now in the digital age - this is the central thesis of my research - a new spirit of capitalism has emerged, originating from the Silicon Valley. Paradoxically, making the world a better place, even saving the world, has become the central ideology of digital capitalism. To that end, democracy is to be replaced by technology. Faith in transcendence through technology has become the religion of digitization.

This year's motto is 'tl;dr' (too long; didn't read). Which topic particularly suffers from oversimplification and abbreviation in your view?
Definitely the debate around identity politics and populism. While there are numerous statements and publications by now, everything follows the logic of binary stereotype thinking. People hardly listen to each other and deliberately misunderstand the other side.

In the spirit of 'tl;dr': What are your recent must-reads/must-watches?
James Bridle: The New Dark Age. Technology and the End of Future. 2018: Verso, London.

Find Oliver Nachtwey's Session here.