How Silicon Valley Unleashed Techno-feudalism

How Silicon Valley Unleashed Techno-feudalism:The Making of the Digital Economy

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The promise of the New Economy gone, we have regressed into the age of techno-feudalism

The rise of the IT industry in the nineties promised a new era of freedom and prosperity. It didn’t deliver. Certainly, algorithms are everywhere, but capitalism is no more civilised than ever.

In fact, in the hands of private corporations, the digitalisation of the world drives us towards a darker future. The return of monopolies, the dominance of a few platforms, the blurred distinction between the economic and the political all epitomise a systemic mutation. Information and data networks push the digital economy in the direction of the feudal logic of rent, dispossession, and personal domination.

How Silicon Valley Unleashed Techno-feudalism offers a fresh genealogy of the Silicon Valley consensus and its contradictions. It disentangles the principles of an emerging systemwide rationale. Large firms compete in cyberspace to gain control over data, and ordinary people are increasingly at the mercy of tech giants. In this new economic order, capital is moving away from production to focus on predation.

Reviews

  • A must-read on the ongoing debate on techno-feudalism. A great book!

    Thomas Piketty
  • Cédric Durand's book adds to the excitement. He treats Big Tech as monopoly capitalists whose digital platforms (e.g. Facebook, Amazon) function like utilities (e.g. electricity providers, water and sewage corpoations, railway networks or phone companies), except that Big Tech use the cloud to harvest our data so as to boost their monopoly power over us.

    Yanis Varoufakis, author of Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism
  • The publication of this book by the French economist Cédric Durand represents the most sustained attempt so far at a serious consideration of the economic logics involved.

    Evgeny MorozovNew Left Review