Arena Quarterly issue 2 available now
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A High-Tech Pandemic?

Amplified by the powers of high technologies, capitalist expansion has moved to a new level, recalibrating the borders between humans and the natural world and producing effects across species.

Unacknowledged Legislators

All the received wisdoms and shibboleths of contemporary politics and economics, which have (among much else) lifted Donald Trump to his present bad eminence and left parliaments in many lands beset by extreme right-wing parties and ideologues, need reviewing in a fresh light.

American Dream

Not just precarity but destitution threatens under conditions of COVID, and especially in the United States it threatens people of colour.
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Quietly Sacrificing the North? US Marines’ COVID-19 Exemption

Rather than taking a ‘fingers-crossed, let’s-hope-there’s-no-human-error’ gamble on quarantine measures, it would be far safer to prevent US marines from coming to Australia from COVID-19 hot spots.

The Anti-Aesthetic of Cancel Culture

The implicit politics of the present—in which the deep left aim of creating a society of universal self-flourishing is rendered as a society of universal ‘safety’, in an expanded sense—trends towards a ban on representation, since any representation of suffering or wrong can be taken as exploitation or aggression.

‘The First Cry of a Newborn World’: The Trinity Test at 75

The bright young things of Silicon Valley, with their dreams of direct democracy on Mars and digital immortality, are often difficult to take seriously. But their hubris is only the gaudy version of a broader cultural and political belief in the power of science and technology to edit, alter and override the very stuff from which our world is made—in other words, to ‘play God’.

Renting During COVID-19: Housing Security and Market Failures

After decades of encouraging competition between landlords and tenants, the government has turned around at lightning speed and now wants landlords and tenants to cooperate and negotiate. This is not in the nature of free-market economics...

Technocratic Urban Governance and the Need to Localise Computing Infrastructure (Part II)

Whoever controls the computer-based infrastructure of the city can determine the type of future the city has... ‘Smart city’ vendors and their platforms will immediately lock-in governments and citizens and limit their development, shaping the way we relate to the city while programming citizens’ behaviour.

The Old Social Virus: Racism and Social Distancing of Ethnic Minorities

Eventually, we trust, the virulence of the pandemic will recede, and the social-distancing measures associated with it will ease too. But what will happen to those disadvantaged groups whose public life is threatened not by an easily transferable, invisible freak virus but rather the older tenacious social contagion called racism?
The Alan Roberts Prize