The revelations about Cambridge Analytica indicate clearly that western governments are subverting democracy

Politics and Insights

Image result for PR companies manipulationI have already written an article about Cambridge Analytica, the commodification of voter decision making and the marketisation of democracy, along with previous articlesabout western government’s strategies for subverting democracy. I have also extensively criticised governments’ use of ‘behavioural economics, and the neuroliberal turn more generally. 

Within the neoliberal framework, it seems that anything which may be commodified and marketised is, including our consummer preferences, Facebook likes, behaviours, emotions, subconscious, cognitive habits, perceptions and decisions. If companies like Cambridge Analytica could mine and sell our souls, they would do so in much they same way they did their own collective conscience. The CEO of Cambridge Analytica has been suspended, Alexander Nix, has been suspended. However, Nix is a symptom of a problem, rather than being the problem itself. 

Cambridge Analytica is just the tip of a very dirty, subterranean iceberg. It’s worth keeping in…

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The BBC and Jeremy Corbyn

Waiting for Godot

Yesterday I tweeted this:

And I went on to explain why I would not give any further information. But I think there are further matters I can add that would add context and meaning to my tweet.

  1. What can I say about X? My “conversation” – which was conducted entirely in writing – took place with X. X is an individual at the BBC whose seniority and sphere of work is such that it could not sensibly be suggested that X is not properly qualified to speak on such matters.
  2. How did the conversation arise? The conversation took place subsequent to Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader and in the context of a broader conversation about his treatment…

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Cambridge Analytica, the commodification of voter decision-making and marketisation of democracy

Politics and Insights

CA data“We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of profiles. And built models to exploit that and target their inner demons”. Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower, Christopher Wylie.


It’s been a longstanding major area of concern, of course, that neurotechnologies and ‘behavioural change’ techniques may be used to redirect citizen decision making without their explicit permission. After all, neuromarketing – the idea that the brain, behaviours, emotions and preferences can reveal hidden and profitable truths – is founded on the development of strategies of persuasion in order to profit.

This doesn’t just raise ethical concerns in the market place, since neuromarketing strategies are being used in wider contexts, such as in shaping political narratives and communications, election campaigning, policy making and within the media. The motive for employing these techniques is nonetheless about gaining a profit, if not financially, then certainly in terms of advantage and power. 

I have criticised behavioural economics extensively…

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