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Martín Arboleda, Governing Utopia: on Planning and Popular Power

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Martín Arboleda: Governing Utopia: Planning, Popular Power, and Critical Social Theory

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UCD Environmental Humanities and Durham Centre for Culture and Ecology are delighted to present a talk by Martín Arboleda (Universidad Diego Portales).

Thursday 13 May, 4pm.

Governing Utopia: Planning, Popular Power, and Critical Social Theory

The succession of global crises that originated in 2008 and reached its apex with the global coronavirus pandemic revealed a startling fact: the global unfolding of capital is a deliberately planned process. The neoliberal mirage of an efficiently self-regulating 'free' market has faded in recent years in the face of an activist state that bails out big companies in times of crisis, redistributes wealth upwards through tax breaks and subsidies, and deploys transnational logistics networks for the capture of monopoly rents by a handful of economic conglomerates. The rise of megacorporations such as Amazon, Google, and Walmart, on the other hand, has been made possible by strategic planning schemes so overwhelming and intrusive that they have been compared to those of Gosplan, the Soviet Union's central planning agency. If this mode of late-capitalist planning has led the way to an era of mass extinctions and extreme social inequality, then critical thought faces the pressing historical task of not only challenging the design and execution of plans, but the meaning of planning itself. In this talk, Martín Arboleda surveys some of the main debates that have marked the political and intellectual history of economic planning in the past, in order to understand its reappearance in the present, and its possible trajectories in the future. Despite internal nuances and divergences, current debates on radical economic planning foreshadow new and more intricate visions of state, money, and markets, and of the role that they could perform in a transition towards a future that is exciting and radically alternative.

Martín Arboleda

Martín Arboleda is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile. His research explores the role that primary commodity production performs in the political economy of global capitalism. His fields of interest include global political economy, critical social theory, and agrarian studies. He is the author of the book Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism (Verso, 2020), as well as of Gobernar la utopía: sobre la planificación y el poder popular (Caja Negra Editora, forthcoming). His articles on the political economy of extraction in Chile and Latin America have been published in scholarly journals such as Geoforum, Journal of Agrarian Change, Antipode, and Society & Space, as well as in non-academic outlets such as Jacobin Magazine, Jacobin América Latina, and Harvard Design Magazine. He is currently working on a long term research project on the political economy of the globalized agro-food system, as well as on the social and political history of agrarian planning in Latin America.

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This talk will take place at 4pm Irish Standard Time, which translates to 11am Eastern Standard (US Time). Ticket sales will close at 12pm Dublin time on the 13th and links will be sent out twice, on 11th May and on 13th May, two hours before the event.

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UCD Environmental Humanities

Future events: https://ucdenvhums.wixsite.com/my-site

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ucdenvhums

Twitter: @ucd_envhum

Durham Centre for Culture and Ecology

Future events: https://www.dur.ac.uk/cce/01/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CentreforCultureandEcologyDurhamUni

Twitter: @cce_durham

We gratefully acknowledge the support of UCD College of Arts and Humanities Funding for Research Activity for 2021.

Photo by Chuttersnap via Unsplash.

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