Spots are limited due to COVID restrictions
To register please use Moodle or send an email to mrgruenberg (at)


Even if in the face of economic crisis and ecological collapse of our present an outright majority would surprisingly decide to end capitalism, there would not exist a dominant emancipatory vision to put in place of the former economic order. After the atrocities of actually existing socialism and the fall of the Soviet Union the outlook of an equally egalitarian and liberal future remains grim. Without a feasible way of organizing the economy, any escapes would simply end up in an administration of misery. In the course, we will identify possible alternatives by exploring two traditions of economic thought that break with the market: gift economies and economic planning. While the former reappears in anarchist circles and more recently within the commons movement, the discourse around the latter has lately been revived through the rise of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and the logistics of multinational corporations such as Amazon or Walmart.
The course will be structured in two blocks. To approach the logic of the gift we will read anarchist and anthropological classics and relate them to contemporary proposals, which aim at scaling up the solidary unit of the commons. The second trajectory unfolds from the writings of the early utopian socialists, this part covers the history of economic planning (among others OGAS and Cybersyn) and critically discuss the most recent proposals for participatory and cybernetic planning. We will see that mediation, abstraction, and computation are at the core of these discussions.
A certificate (Schein) is possible with credit in Media Philosophy. Students can a) make a project or deliver a presentation in class and write a short essay of ca. 10 pages, or b) write an extensive essay of ca. 20 pages. All materials will be shared via Dropbox.
As long as COVID allows we will conduct the course in person. In case students prefer other formats (e.g. hybrid/online) we can discuss this in the first class. The introductory session on 27 October will be held online. From the following week on we will meet in room 112.

Max Grünberg
mrgruenberg [∂]

Enrolment: via email or Moodle
Wednesday, 14:00 – 17:00. Bi-weekly
Course start: 27 October 2021
Language: English
Room: 112

Consultation hours:
on appointment.