Articles by: Timothy Erik Ström

Author Biography:

Timothy Erik Ström is an independent writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Globalization and Surveillance and his writings can be found at his website: The Sorcerer’s Apparatus. He is Arena Online Editor.

Cybernetic Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics

China’s Social Credit System is a compelling manifestation of cybernetic capitalism—of how financial mechanisms interlock with other systems of social control, by combining mass surveillance, gamified corporate loyalty programs, and debt peonage.

The Limits of Control

Compelled towards impossible dreams of infinite growth within finite nature, the cybernetic capitalist system is decidedly expansionist and colonial...

Arena Online in 2020

In such a politically loaded time, it is plain that there is a need for serious, radical and critical analysis, and for this to work with practical actions and experiments in new social forms. It is equally plain that the carcass of mainstream media and corporate universities are unwilling and unable to fulfill their democratic function.

Antennas Aflame: Cybernetics, Conspiracies and 5G

Much of mainstream liberal commentary on the 5G conspiracy consists of snide dismissals that blame credulous individuals for inaccurate beliefs. Yet, given how widespread the 5G conspiracies have become, it is not enough to dismiss them...

Win-win for capital, lose-lose for us: Google vs. News Corp vs. the Public

...the struggle over the News Media Bargaining Code can be seen for what it is: a minor turf war between factions of monopoly capital.

Editorial: Speaking Power to Truth: Trump’s Contradictory Strength and the Possibility of a Coup

Flash forward a few months into the very near future and imagine a moment when Trump, having to face up to an election, thinks it might just be better not to have one.

Editorial: Undead Undone? Coronavirus and Capitalism

The coronavirus pandemic lays bare how the living, the dead and the grey zone in between are organised into a global system of power, ecology and technology; a formation whose vulnerabilities and contradictions are being pressed to boiling point.

Informit: Data-driven democracy

A parallel to the Cambridge Analytica scandal 'The development of powerful new means of communication has coincided, historically, with the extension of democracy and with the attempts, by many kinds of ruling groups, to control and manage democracy.' These words, written by Raymond Williams back in 1962, referred to the rise of printing in the long sixteenth century, through to newspapers in the nineteenth century, and radio and television in the twentieth century. This point…

Informit: Marketing fascism

The cyber-strategies behind the Christchurch attack Many of the best responses to the massacre in Christchurch have focused on a recog - nition of the human lives that have been torn apart by this shocking act; they are a conscious and affirmative counter to the cycles of dehumanisation that led to the rampage. Other excellent responses have sought to reckon with the social context in which such horror becomes possible - inquiries into the grinding…

Informit: The ugly internet [Book Review]

Review(s) of: Surveillance valley: The secret military history of the internet, by Yasha Levine, (Public Affairs, 2018).

Informit: Abstract and control: Twenty years of google

The third in a series of articles in Google's twentieth-anniversary year The story of Google is a telling case study in the analysis of contemporary society, reorganised as it has been by the mutations of cybernetic capitalism. The company's history has been one of deep enthralment with technology, typically cast in naive 'how-cool-is-that' terms - it is a story peppered with geeky tropes and various vacuous watchwords like 'innovation', 'entrepreneurial' and, of course, lots and…

Informit: Surveil and commodify: Twenty years of google

The second of three articles in the twentieth-anniversary year of Google: advertising for monopoly power. Google's system of surveillance-fuelled automated advertising is highly effective, as noted in part one of this series (Arena Magazine no. 153). In part two here, I shall look more closely at the intertwined processes of surveillance and commodification, for herein lies the secret to Google's tremendous success. Advertising provides the company with most of its enormous revenue, but as advertisers…