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Pan-Optic is a podcast featuring conversations between a critical theorist and a management consultant, cohosts (and longtime friends) Juan Pablo Melo and Jason Margaritis respectively. They met during a monotonous work assignment at a Washington-based government contractor in 2013. Jason and Juan Pablo sought refuge in daily extended work breaks musing about the limits of knowledge, the organizations of power, the regrets of Thrasymachus, and so on. Later, Jason received his MA in Governmen ...
 
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Today, Jason and Juan Pablo discuss political theorist Evgeny Morozov’s article, “Digital Socialism? The Calculation Debate in the Age of Big Data” (NLR, 2019, https://newleftreview.org/issues/II116/articles/evgeny-morozov-digital-socialism). In this article, Morozov critiques the idea that technology will somehow reinvent capitalism. He argues tha…
 
Pan-Optic is pleased to present part three of our three-part series on radicalization and ideology. In today’s episode, we address: individuation and socialization; a critique of generalizable interests; existential and absurdist interpretations of the ”ideological grounding” problem; the people side of mergers and acquisitions; applications to cha…
 
Today’s episode is Pan-Optic’s first ever "personal case study" response, where we react to listener Sep’s account of working in big tech and grappling with feeling intellectually and morally limited by her work requirements and the logic of the firm. In reacting to Sep’s personal case study, we explore: Max Weber on the protestant work-oriented et…
 
Pan-Optic is pleased to present part two of our three-part series on radicalization and ideology. In today’s episode, we address: the moral and legal implications of ideological discrimination; the extent to which government can avoid values-oriented decision making; a clear functional definition of ideology vs. a general definition of ideology; ca…
 
Pan-Optic is pleased to present our three-part series on radicalization and ideology. In the knowledge age and especially in the COVID world, institutions are pressured to change the way they operate and do business frequently and rapidly. We spend much time pontificating about the need to transform workforces (us included), but often without consi…
 
Today’s episode starts off with a 30-minute, ad hoc discussion surrounding the recent murder of George Floyd and the ensuing national campaign against police racism. Please refer to Pan-Optic’s website for additional resources on how to support reputable activist groups in the fight against racism (https://www.panopticpod.com/post/pitching-in-to-fi…
 
During Pan-Optic’s two-part series “Philosophers in Firms,” Jason and Juan Pablo investigate the mystery of why Google hired a philosopher and what this individual does. Along the way, we address the following more fundamental questions: Should firms hire philosophers? Does it make good business sense? How does the business case compare to the mora…
 
Our Foundations Crossover P.3 — In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, today’s segment (part three of our three-part crossover with Our Foundations podcast) couldn’t be more apropos. What happens when you equip strategic actors with predictive analytical power? Some may say we’re living it.In parts one and two, we traversed: the 18th century r…
 
Our Foundations Crossover P.2 — In theory, public discourses should influence law creation in a democracy. But has big advertising undermined the legal objectives of communicative action? After 9/11, why did the U.S. outsource approximately 50% of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to companies like Blackwater? Surprisingly, the answers to…
 
En los últimos meses el manejo comunicacional del Gobierno de López Obrador ha resultado en una tendencia clara de descenso en su aprobación, meses de ataques de la oposición no le hicieron mella, tuvo que ocurrir una racha de errores que combinados con la crisis del Coronavirus amenaza con ser el punto de inflexión en su administración…
 
Our Foundations Crossover P.1 — What happens when you arm strategic actors with big data and predictive analytical power? Juan Pablo and Jason are pleased to present Pan-Optic's collaboration with the Our Foundations podcast, further reflecting on some of the challenges (and solutions) posed by strategic communications throughout Western history. A…
 
Episode 9 is part two of our exploration of Aaron Benanav’s critique of the so-called “automation discourse.” We further probe the hypothesis that system overcapacity caused the collapse of manufacturing labor demand. What happens to the job market when manufacturing labor is down and the cost of living is up, chronically? Which possible economic s…
 
Episode 8 is part one of our exploration of Aaron Benanav’s critique of the so-called “automation discourse.” But first, let’s recap: in Episode 7, Jason broke down local political discourses on automation and offshoring. Why does Andrew Yang believe that automation killed 4,000,000 manufacturing jobs in rural America? Why does Elizabeth Warren bel…
 
Welcome to Pan-Optic’s third “Reflections” episode featuring our most reactionary, stream of consciousness rambling yet. Jason and Juan Pablo relate current, salient political headlines to core Pan-Optic themes and previous episodes. In chronological order, we: brainstorm private sector and non-profit applications of critical theory, and debate the…
 
To kickoff the New Year, Pan-Optic returns to the subject of automation. In today’s episode, Jason and Juan Pablo uncover dominant political discourses surrounding the fall of U.S. manufacturing labor. Why did 22% of American manufacturing plants shutdown between 2000 and 2014? What happened to the victims of mass job displacement? In the context o…
 
Happy Holidays Pan-Optic listeners! Welcome to our second "Reflections" episode and first ever Holiday Special. The purpose of today’s episode is to conduct a “pulse-check” of the podcast. We reflect on the following questions: What is Pan-Optic about? Have we evolved on this question over the last 6 months? Who is our target audience and what do w…
 
Today’s episode is part three of a three-part series on strategic communication. But unlike part two, today’s episode is through and through philosophy. We come full circle with Habermas who argues that strategic action is purposive, calculated manipulation of others. While communication itself is oriented towards increasing understanding, strategi…
 
This is the second episode of a three-part series focusing on strategic communication. In today’s episode, we wrap up our conversation on the Socratic Method as a kind of strategic action in disguise; we discuss the value of intra- and interpersonal audits to unveil hidden interests prior to engaging in negotiation, debate, or conflict; and we comp…
 
This is the first in a three-part series focusing on strategic communication: what is it, how does it work, what are its strengths and limitations, is it morally defensible, and is it even avoidable? In today’s episode, we examine the Socratic Method in practice: a rambunctious debate on the nature of justice between Socrates and Thrasymachus in Pl…
 
Reflections #1. This is the first in a series of more reactionary, topical conversations that Juan Pablo and Jason are doing as part of the development of the Pan-Optic podcast. Today, we discuss popular criticism of writer/director Todd Phillips' Joker, the so-called "comic book genre" in general, the role of the markets in directing resources to …
 
In this episode, we briefly trace the history of automation, consider some of the more salient consequences of modern technology, and review philosopher Bernard Stiegler's dystopic critique of modern technology. What happens when we exteriorize knowledge into automatons? Bad, bad things, says Stiegler. But is all the pessimism justified? Juan Pablo…
 
In this episode, we discuss Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, focusing on how one might operationalize Nietzschean master morality in the modern world. We compare the leadership styles of Donald Trump and Elon Musk, asking: who's the better Nietzschean, why, and what does this mean for us? We also continue the conversation that we started during Ep…
 
In this episode, we discuss the so-called "Hawthorne Studies," a series of studies in 1920s Chicago to examine possible relationships between environmental conditions (e.g., lighting) and labor productivity. Business schools often teach that the Hawthorne Studies' greatest achievement was revealing a relationship between workers' sense of being sup…
 
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