The contradictio in terminis encapsulated in the global ‘permanent crisis’ forms the least of symptoms. The primacy of bankrupt entities (bankruptocracy), the limits of financialisation, the emergence of wholly new types of automation, the development of artificial intelligence, the radical digitisation of everything: all these merely indicative facts circumscribe a system that cannot be properly called capitalism anymore. We already witness the first stages of an emerging era that can only be described by that which it succeeds: we live in postcapitalist times. These may eventually prove to be utopian — or dystopian. Or anything in between. mέta’s Research Sector strives to understand this future by studying the past and correctly diagnosing the present.
It has been noted that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, invoking the need for serious reflection on the end of the existing order and a transition to a postcapitalist way of life. Yet the future of the world economy is but one of the aspects of postcapitalism. After all, capitalism itself might be prima facie an economic system, but it has evolved into a comprehensive political, cultural, anthropological and international order. Postcapitalism, however it might evolve, is not merely the modification of an economic system; it will prove to be a new political, cultural, anthropological, civilisational paradigm — a new era indeed. A dystopian one, a utopian one, or anything in between. And the turbulences of the gradual transition are to be witnessed by all. The oligarchic decline of liberal democracy engenders countless variations of authoritarian tendencies; the supply chain of tributes for the global minotaur are increasingly interrupted; novel desiderata for emancipation are articulated; the chasms between megacities and provinces nurture silent, cold civil wars; the emergence of a non-Anglophone, non-Atlantic, non-liberal, non-bipartisan state as the planet’s largest economy is just around the corner, overturning a two-centuries-old order; the changes in global demography and geopolitics are vertiginous; climate change is threatening our very existence. Transformations of gigantic proportions radically reshape the world before our very eyes.
Terms with a post- or meta- prefix do not necessarily run on parallel courses; they describe a new reality by citing what this reality succeeds — they describe thresholds. However, now that late modernity is reaching its final threshold, realities described by terms with a post- prefix (or μετα-, meta-) seem to be reaching a convergence. Postcapitalism, postsecularism, postcolonialism, postmodernity, and the list goes on: we are reaching, we have reached, a common threshold. The post- prefix declares a lucid realisation that something has ended, but also a certain opacity concerning that which commences.
mέta Research explores that which now commences, and strives to achieve lucidity on all of its varied aspects — via research, discursive and academic means, publications, conferences and seminars.
What comes after an end of times? What kind of reckoning does this day of reckoning dictate? These questions form the general field of our enquiry.
Director of mέta’s Research Sector: Dr Sotiris Mitralexis