Technofeudalism

SKU: 9781847927286
Technofeudalism - 9781847927286 - Yanis Varoufakis - Bodley Head - The Little Lost Bookshop

Technofeudalism

SKU: 9781847927286
Author: Yanis Varoufakis | Publisher: Bodley Head

"So, here is how capitalism ended, Not with a revolutionary bang, but with an evolutionary whimper." Thus will begin my account of capitalism's demise and technofeudalism's emergence.

Capitalism's demise began in 2008, as Wall Street's house of cards tumbled, until, aided by the pandemic and abetted by Big Tech, a new exploitative system took hold. This new system, technofeudalism, is our new, harsh realm. It is fascinating but also uniquely cruel. The technologies that support it are already mindboggling, as is the threat the new system poses to our liberty and, even, to our chances of survival as a species. Whether humanity manages to survive, let alone develop sustainably on a planet that is already rejecting us, will very much depend on our grasping the nature of this technofeudalism and finding ways to defang it.

The book's claim that capitalism is finished will, inevitably, prove hugely controversial. Commentators from the Right and the Left will laugh at it. Both sides have a vested interest in believing that we are witnessing a new variant of capitalism, not a transformation of capitalism into something distinct, something even worse. The Right, because they need to believe that capitalism is eternal and, ultimately, good - the natural system that humanity was primed for since the Garden of Eden. As for the Left, we leftists find it almost impossible to live with the idea that it was not we, the self-styled rational rebels, who overthrew capitalism in order to replace it with a functioning democratic socialism, but it was capitalism that overthrew itself - to bring on an even more exploitative system. The very notion that History bypassed us, plunges the Left into an existentialist angst which makes it hard to engage with reality.

Why does it matter whether capitalism begat technofeudalism or is going through one more of its many mutations? It matters for the same reasons it was crucial for late 18th century liberal reformists, anti-slavery campaigners etc. to grasp the importance of capitalism's blossoming within Without the realisation of capitalism's dynamic, and its capacity to transform everything, their efforts, struggles, policies and campaigns stood no chance. Similarly Understanding the nature and ways of technofeudalism matters because, if I am right, campaigns, struggles and policies like President Biden's Green New Deal, which had a chance to work ten or twenty years ago, cannot work under the technofeudal order that is now us over.

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