Governing Techno-Futures: OECD Anticipation of Automation and the Multiplication of Managerialism

Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn*, Moritz Huetten

*Corresponding author for this work

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    How do international organisations (IOs) govern the present based on claims about the coming impacts of technological change? Drawing on primary documents and participant observation, this article traces how the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) anticipates automation emanating from the growing integration of blockchain technologies in global governance. We find that promises of radical, rapid, and reckless automation advanced by promoters of Bitcoin and other ‘defiant’ applications of the technology are steered by this IO towards more incremental and carefully managed forms of automation. The OECD relies on two managerialist practices to anticipate “reckless automation” through the promotion of what we identify as “responsible disruption”. In combination, OECD practices of scenario building and shared orientation framework construction deepen and extend managerial forms of global governance today whose technocratic and expert-led nature limits democratic possibilities and perpetuates global inequalities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)240-260
    Number of pages21
    JournalGlobal Society
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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