Smart Cities and Dark Neoliberalism

As I was reading an article on the supposed hidden ideology underlying the rise of the Smart City on e-flux blog: The hidden ideology behind the “smart city”  I kept thinking to myself:

Look at New York City for a model of the coming Smart City as total ubiquitous control, and then think John Twelve Hawks Fourth Realm trilogy. Already NYC is becoming the mecca for such ubiquitous smart worlds seamlessly enclosing its citizens in a web of intelligence that will think for them – watch them, protect them, imprison them for their own good… the Nanny Corporate City of the Future will do for you what you want do for yourself. A sort of Progressive City of Ethical Control bound only by the Imperialism of Economic Neoliberalist Stocks and Algorithmic Governmentality. Sadly this collusion of the Establishment Left/Right in Washington and in such corporate cities as NYC will become addititve – adding such smart devices and upgrades over the coming decades. While in China or other sites it will become part of the galloping rise of all new cities.

This notion that we can intervene and shape this future seems iffy at best, because the very government that could intervene and do that through reform and regulation has as we see here in the U.S.A. vanished… with the divorce of Capitalism from Democracy (or, as here, the Federal Republic) the world will look more like China with a group of Oligarchic Overlords pushing agendas and guiding capitalism toward intensified obsolescence even as they marginalize humans for machinic life.

Politics has become for all basic purposes a mass spectacle, a media-event or Reality Studio festival of cannibalistic or zombie-fest brokerage for the masses and their naïve realism and hopeful belief that someone will save them from the truth. Nothing real left in such realms touches our lives, least of all the party establishments that seem hell-bent only on blasting each other to smithereens in some apocalypse of the warring factions. For the Dems it is the Russian apocalypse – a media circus to keep the ball off their own inability to provide a viable platform, so that all they have left is a three-ringed circus of accusation, ridicule, and pompous ass ethical slices at Trump and his family of inept clowns, politicians, and advisors. For the Publicans its’ a sort of back-tracked vision of re-establishing its old line of mainstays against the populist rage of its outer alt-Right hardliners, even as it plays a conservative hand for its mainstream members, and plays jokers wild for the extreme hands of its populist base. Is this the Deleuzean sign of a schizophrenizing capitalism finally playing out its endgame, or rather the endgame not of capitalism but of the spectacle of democracy? I think the latter… democracy has been a media bump for decades, a sort of treadmill of inanity awaiting the moment the digital maze would open and they could silently vanish into the void. We’ve never actually had a democracy except as rhetoric and stories for our children in literature and schools, and now even that is finally being exposed for what it is a complete fabrication and lie. It’s this lying part that is surfacing in our time as we see the mongrel morons in Washington try to save face not in the presence of their constituents (since we no longer trust them at all!), but rather to themselves and their benefactors on Wall-Street, Banks, and Oil Moghuls around the world… a sort of Custer’s last stand against their failing systems of illusion. For it is the Reality Studio of mediatainment that is faltering on the global stage with its pretentious universal message of freedom and democracy being shown up for what it is: a dream turned nightmare as we watch the Presidency become stage-craft and vaudeville shame-fest, while the Congress and Senate and Justice department trade spy-craft envelopes hoping it will all just go silently away… it want, of course, instead we see the Talking heads bobbing up and down across the fatal shores of oblivion as they sail off into the fractured world on the last Ship of Fools!

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