A Public Library—Forderungen [Demands]

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A conversation on financial feudalism, self-governing intelligent objects, and a possible future without money, with Ralph and Stefan Heidenreich.

Financial feudalism reigns over our economy. It requires that massive amounts of wealth be concentrated in the few, and precarity and poverty for the rest. Forderungen (2105, Merve), Ralph and Stefan Heidenreich’s recently published follow-up to Mehr Geld (2008, Merve), considers our dystopian future and contests it with three utopian solutions: one based on state power; one rooted in the current financial regime; and one emerging from algorithms and networks. State-based Keynesian interventions call for a job guarantee that can ensure full employment. The financial sector’s solution uses helicopter money to create wealth in the face of falling yields. Networks call for a very different solution. If economics is a question of the allocation of work and the distribution of goods and services, its task can be reformulated as a problem of the network.

The medium of money then only represents one possible solution. Since the capacity of databases allows the tracking of all transactions, we may invent algorithmic solutions without money and even, more generally, without any need for a general equivalent. This entails asymmetrical transactions, i.e., non-exchange-based transactions, by self-governing intelligent objects that create the impossibility of accumulating disproportionate wealth in the hands of a few.

Ralph and Stefan will give an introduction to the core concepts of Forderungen, which will be followed by a conversation. This event follows a public editing session of the book that took place at A Public Library last February. This event will also be the first launch of Forderungen and there will be copies available for purchase. The event will (mostly) take place in English.

Ralph Heidenreich
(*1957) lives in Biberach an der Riss, where he is a member of the town council for Die Linke. He works as a programmer.

Stefan Heidenreich
(*1965) lives in Berlin. Fields of research include economy, media, network theory, and arts. He had research or teaching positions at Lüneburg University, Kunsthochschule Kassel, ETH Zürich and Basel University. He regularly contributes to the German weekly Der Freitag and art-agenda.com.