In this BBC interview, Castells is discussing "networked societies" and "alternative economic cultures". I love this analysis because it clarifies some very important concepts describing the social structure we live in today.
You can download and listen to the podcast here. I highly recommend listening !!! Very enjoyable and a very vigorous debate in many parts.
Parts of the interview have been transcribed and can be found here, but here are some of the most interesting excerpts:
Why are alternative economic cultures emerging ?
- "When I mention this alternative economic culture, it's a combination of two things.
- "A number of people have been doing this for quite a while already because they don't agree with the meaninglessness of their lives. Now there is something else - it's the legion of consumers who cannot consume.
- "And, therefore, since they do not consume - they don't have the money, they don't have the credit, they don't have anything - then they try at least to make sense of their lives doing something different.
- "So, it's because of needs and because of values - the two things together - that's why it's expanding."
How are economies cultural?
- "If we want to work to make money, to consume, it's because we believe that by buying a new car or by buying a new television or a bigger flat, we are going to be happier. This is a particular form of culture.
- "On the contrary... people are reversing the notion: what is important in their life cannot be bought, in most cases. But they don't have the choice anymore because they are already trapped in a machine.
- "What happens when the machine is not working anymore? People say, 'well I am really stupid. I am running all the time for nonsense'."
Distrust of current economic institutions
- "What we are not going to see is the economic collapse per se because societies cannot work in a social vacuum. If the economic institutions don't work, if the financial institutions don't work, the power relations that exist in society change the financial system in ways favoured to the financial system and it doesn't collapse. People collapse, not the financial system.
- "The notion is the banks are going to be alright, we are not going to be alright. So there is a cultural change. A big one. Total distrust in the institutions of finance and politics.
- "Some people start already living differently as they can - some because they want alternative ways of life, others because they don't have any other choice.
- "What I refer to is about the observation of one of my latest studies on people who have decided not to wait for the revolution - to start living differently - meaning the expansion of what I call in a technical term 'non-capitalist practices'.
- "They are economic practices but they don't have a for-profit motivation - such as barter networks; such as social currencies; co-operatives; self-management; agricultural networks; helping each other simply in terms of wanting to be together; networks of providing services for free to others in the expectation that someone will also provide to you. All this exists and it's expanding throughout the world."