William Davies

William Davies is Reader in Political Economy and Co-Director of PERC at Goldsmiths, University of London.

  • Economic Science Fictions

    Economic Science Fictions

    William Davies

    An innovative new anthology exploring how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics.

    From the libertarian economics of Ayn Rand to Aldous Huxley's consumerist dystopias, economics and science fiction have often orbited each other. In Economic Science Fictions, editor William Davies has deliberately merged the two worlds, asking how we might harness the power of the utopian imagination to revitalize economic thinking.

    Rooted in the sense that our current economic reality is no longer credible or viable, this collection treats our economy as a series of fictions and science fiction as a means of anticipating different economic futures. It asks how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics and provides surprising new syntheses, merging social science with fiction, design with politics, scholarship with experimental forms.

    With an opening chapter from Ha-Joon Chang as well as theory, short stories, and reflections on design, this book from Goldsmiths Press challenges and changes the notion that economics and science fiction are worlds apart. The result is a wealth of fresh and unusual perspectives for anyone who believes the economy is too important to be left solely to economists.

    Contributors AUDINT, Khairani Barokka, Carina Brand, Ha-Joon Chang, Miriam Cherry, William Davies, Mark Fisher, Dan Gavshon-Brady and James Pockson, Owen Hatherley, Laura Horn, Tim Jackson, Mark Johnson, Bastien Kerspern, Nora O Murchú, Tobias Revell et al., Judy Thorne, Sherryl Vint, Joseph Walton, Brian Willems

    • Hardcover $29.95 £25.00
    • Paperback $22.00 £17.99

Contributor

  • The Presence Project, Second Edition

    The Presence Project, Second Edition

    Bill Gaver

    The account of an influential 2001 project in technology design documents the development of key concepts that have since become standard practice.

    The influential Presence Project brought together an international group of collaborators in 2001 to investigate how technology can be used to increase the presence of older people in their local communities. This became a groundbreaking project for practice-based design research, exploring approaches and methods that have resonated since. The design team rejected a problem-solving approach, focusing instead on creating new and unusual situations for communication and insight. They introduced cutting-edge methods and developed challenging designs that they tested in the communities themselves.

    This book documents the Presence Project's development of key concepts in contemporary technology design, including cultural probes, design workbooks, and speculative design. Original Presence Project participants may have been surprised that the methods they invented became standard practice; the theme of the project was to break out of conventional approaches and try something radically new.

    With a new preface by Bill Gaver and an introduction by Phoebe Sengers, this reissue of The Presence Project gives readers a glimpse into the thinking behind this influential project and ideas about how to bring it to bear on today's design problems.

    • Paperback $30.00 £28.00
  • Can Markets Solve Problems?

    Can Markets Solve Problems?

    An Empirical Inquiry into Neoliberalism in Action

    Daniel Neyland, Véra Ehrenstein, and Sveta Milyaeva

    A provocative analysis of market-based interventions into public problems and the consequences.

    Market-based interventions have been used in attempts to solve numerous public problems, from education to healthcare and from climate change to privacy. Scholars have responded persuasively through critiques of neoliberalism. In Can Markets Solve Problems? Daniel Neyland, Véra Ehrenstein, and Sveta Milyaeva propose a different route forward.

    There is no single entity knowable as “the market,” the authors argue. Instead, they examine in detail the devices, relations, and practices that underpin these market-based interventions. Drawing on recent work in science and technology studies (STS), each chapter focuses on a different intervention and critically explores the market sensibility around which it is organized. Trade and exchange, competition, property and ownership, and investment and return all become the focus of a thorough exploration of what it means to intervene in public problems, how problems are composed, and how solutions are continually reworked.

    Can Markets Solve Problems? offers the first book-length STS enquiry into markets and public problems. Weaving together rich empirical descriptions and conceptual discussions, the book provides in-depth insights into the workings of these markets, their continuous evolution, and the consequences. The result is a new avenue of critical inquiry that moves between the details of specific policies and the always-emerging, collective features of this landscape of intervention.

    • Hardcover $30.00 £22.50
  • The Death of Public Knowledge?

    The Death of Public Knowledge?

    How Free Markets Destroy the General Intellect

    Aeron Davis

    A collection of short, sharp essays exploring the value of shared and accessible public knowledge in the face of its erosion.

    The Death of Public Knowledge argues for the value and importance of shared, publicly accessible knowledge, and suggests that the erosion of its most visible forms, including public service broadcasting, education, and the network of public libraries, has worrying outcomes for democracy.With contributions from both activists and academics, this collection of short, sharp essays focuses on different aspects of public knowledge, from libraries and education to news media and public policy. Together, the contributors record the stresses and strains placed upon public knowledge by funding cuts and austerity, the new digital economy, quantification and target-setting, neoliberal politics, and inequality. These pressures, the authors contend, not only hinder democracies, but also undermine markets, economies, and social institutions and spaces everywhere.

    Covering areas of international public concern, these polemical, accessible texts include reflections on the fate of schools and education, the takeover of public institutions by private interests, and the corruption of news and information in the financial sector. They cover the compromised Greek media during recent EU negotiations, the role played by media and political elites in the Irish property bubble, the compromising of government policy by corporate interests in the United States and Korea, and the squeeze on public service media in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States.Individually and collectively, these pieces spell out the importance of maintaining public, shared knowledge in all its forms, and offer a rallying cry for doing so, asserting the need for strong public, financial, and regulatory support.

    Contributors Toril Aalberg, Ian Anstice, Philip Augar, Rodney Benson, Aeron Davis, Des Freedman, Wayne Hope, Ken Jones, Bong-hyun Lee, Colin Leys, Andrew McGettigan, Michael Moran, Aristotelis Nikolaidis, Justin Schlosberg, Henry Silke, Roger Smith, Peter Thompson, Janine R. Wedel, Karel Williams, Kate Wright

    • Hardcover $28.00 £22.50
  • Liberalism in Neoliberal Times

    Liberalism in Neoliberal Times

    Dimensions, Contradictions, Limits

    Alejandro Abraham-Hamanoiel, Des Freedman, Gholam Khiabany, Kate Nash, and Julian Petley

    An exploration of the theories, histories, practices, and contradictions of liberalism today.

    What does it mean to be a liberal in neoliberal times? This collection of short essays attempts to show how liberals and the wider concept of liberalism remain relevant in what many perceive to be a highly illiberal age. Liberalism in the broader sense revolves around tolerance, progress, humanitarianism, objectivity, reason, democracy, and human rights. Liberalism's emphasis on individual rights opened a theoretical pathway to neoliberalism, through private property, a classically minimal liberal state, and the efficiency of “free markets.” In practice, neoliberalism is associated less with the economic deregulation championed by its advocates than the re-regulation of the economy to protect financial capital. Liberalism in Neoliberal Times engages with the theories, histories, practices, and contradictions of liberalism, viewing it in relation to four central areas of public life: human rights, ethnicity and gender, education, and the media. The contributors explore the transformations in as well as the transformative aspects of liberalism and highlight both its liberating and limiting capacities.

    The book contends that liberalism—in all its forms—continues to underpin specific institutions such as the university, the free press, the courts, and, of course, parliamentary democracy. Liberal ideas are regularly mobilized in areas such as counterterrorism, minority rights, privacy, and the pursuit of knowledge. This book contends that while we may not agree on much, we can certainly agree that an understanding of liberalism and its emancipatory capacity is simply too important to be left to the liberals

    Contributors Alejandro Abraham-Hamanoiel, Patrick Ainley, Abdullahi An-Na'im, Michael Bailey, Haim Bresheeth, Başak Çalı, David Chandler, William Davies, Costas Douzinas, Natalie Fenton, Des Freedman, Roberto Gargarella, Priyamvada Gopal, Jonathan Hardy, John Holmwood, Ratna Kapur, Gholam Khiabany, Ray Kiely, Monika Krause, Deepa Kumar, Arun Kundnani, Colin Leys, Howard Littler, Kathleen Lynch, Robert W. McChesney, Nivedita Menon, Toby Miller, Kate Nash, Joan Pedro-Carañana, Julian Petley, Anne Phillips, Jonathan Rosenhead, Annabelle Sreberny, John Steel, Michael Wayne, Milly Williamson

    • Hardcover $28.00 £22.50