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The political economy of the podcast and the rise of the left entrepreneur

It may seem like another world, but it was only a little over a decade ago that scholars were engaged in an energetic debate over the liberatory nature of the internet. Today, as millions of people spend hours a day on Zoom meetings, navigate their children through ‘online learning’, and write work emails late into the night, the notion that the internet was ever going to liberate us from capitalism seems naïve if not farcical.

Ethical commodities as exodus and refusal

Introduction

As we witness a rise in ‘ethical branding’, we should interrogate which practices could have any effect on ethical concerns. Capitalism generates the need for ethical consumption and benefits from its sale. Ethical practices must move beyond the sphere of consumption; likewise, analyses of ethical branding should address communication and networking. What we need is a concrete understanding of how brands communicate information about themselves. This can reveal that alternative ethical practices are not only possible, but are already occurring.

Authenticating the inauthentic

In recent years, much of our economy – and now, almost the entirety of our global media – has come to rest on a public display of authenticity: ads that bemoan the notion of the sales pitch, heartfelt apologies by perpetrators of large-scale bank frauds or environmental disasters that run on the evening news, and the possibility that our own financial worries may cease when we are made the stars of our own reality television programs. These are all common aspects of modern life.

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