Where capitalism is concerned, the argument that it accelerates change leading to some sort of new society - and the result is to be welcomed - has been around for the best part of 200 years. It had been a recurrent theme in Marx's writings, including as early as The Communist Manifesto of 1848. But, very recently, the name 'accelerationism' has been coined to describe a fringe movement in intellectual circles, with new versions of the old theme. This first appeared with some French Marxists disillusioned with the failure of the 1968 revolts, and then carried on to groups in Britain and the US who saw the left's response to the crisis of 2008 as old-fashioned and inadequate, illustrated by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams with their Accelerate Manifesto (2013). Here there is also an attempt to suggest ways to push change in a new direction.

However, I would suggest these 'accelerationists' have not grasped their own significance since, so far as I am aware, none of them have realised that ideologies supposedly seeking to halt or modify the helter-skelter of technology are liable to act as accelerators themselves. This is especially clear with conservatism, localism, protectionism, and the like which depend upon patriotisms which require, both for reasons of 'standing tall' in the world, and for security from outside pressures (and immigration), accelerated development of technology for economic performance. (That is also essential for military capability.) Environmentalism may have a somewhat better chance of easing the speed of change, but it is still a strong motivator for technical development, if not economic growth as such (whether capitalist or otherwise).

Some of the adherents of accelerationism in fact argue not so much in favour of speeding up capitalist/technological expansion with confidence, as that there is no alternative to that process. If we take into account the impact of ideas supposedly contrary to the acceleration, then it appears they may well be right.

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