How Silicon Valley Unleashed Techno-Feudalism

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

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The New Economy never arrived, instead we have regressed towards darker times. Have we already entered the age of techno-feudalism?

Inequality, stagnant productivity, endemic instability... The new economy of the nineties promised a new era of freedom and prosperity fuelled by IT. It didn't deliver. Certainly, algorithms are everywhere, but this does not mean that capitalism has become civilized

In the hands of private corporations, the digitalization of the world drives us toward an even darker future. The return of monopolies, the dependence of subjects on platforms, the blurring of the distinction between the economic and the political, all epitomize a systemic mutation. Information and data networks push the digital economy in the direction of the feudal logic of rent, dispossession, and personal domination.

Techno-feudalism brings a fresh genealogy of the Silicon Valley consensus and its aporias. It disentangles the principles of an emerging system-wide rationale. Large firms compete in cyberspace to gain control over data sources. Subjects are attached to the digital glebe. In this new economic order, capital is moving away from production to focus on predation.


  • The technofeudalist model involves establishing a monopoly position and using sophisticated data extraction to secure it... Durand invokes the world of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 dystopian sci-fi film Alphaville, in which a dictatorial sentient computer rules society down to the most personal decisions.

    Malcolm HarrisNew York Magazine
  • Durand has provided a very insightful view of finance-driven capitalism over the last three decades. Why was it able to prosper alongside sagging investment and plummeting productivity gains? The answer, argues Durand, lies in the tight connection between the shareholder value principle and the globalization of the real economy.

    Michel Aglietta