Rasmus Fleischer
Wednesday 7 March 2018

Money is not just an ever-present constraint. Money is also a tool to understand the world, to highlight injustices, to establish comparisons between past, present and future. Are we better off or worse off than our parents? Has capitalism recovered after the financial crisis? How do tax havens work? What does negative interest rate mean? Will our pensions, or potentially our basic income, be enough to live off? If we want to find answers to such questions, numbers are hardly lacking. But it is even more unclear what is actually measured, when money is used as a measurement tool.

The effects of digitalisation are paradoxical. On one hand, opportunities arise for putting a price tag on an increasing number of things, including our own attention divided into microseconds, which are offered for sale in algorithmic auctions while we scroll in social media flows. On the other hand, there is no limit for how many new types of digital money, from customer loyalty programs to cryptocurrency, that can be created. The economy is collapsing into pieces that become increasingly difficult to puzzle together into a meaningful whole. How can we understand this breakdown? What alternative tools are at hand to imagine our common future?

Rasmus Fleischer is a researcher in economic history at Stockholm University. He runs the blog Copyriot and writes regularly for Expressen’s cultural page, and in magazines such as Brand. Together with Pelle Snickars, he has written the book Den svenska enhörningen: storyn om Spotify (The Swedish Unicorn: the story about Spotify), which is being published in April.

The talk will be held in Swedish and is organised in conjunction with the exhibition Digital Distress – Consumed by Infinity.