Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism

Exploration of how the titans of technology have irrevocably altered the framework of capitalism—and not in a positive manner.

Varoufakis, an advocate of “libertarian Marxism,” served as the finance minister in his homeland of Greece during a stint in 2015, a professional shift he has effectively parlayed into a thriving career as an author (e.g., And the Weak Suffer What They Must?) and commentator. Demonstrating a knack for distilling intricate economic concepts into material fit for various leftist slogans, the author posits that conventional capitalism has been supplanted by a small cadre of American and Chinese digital giants who amass enormous wealth by essentially charging users to generate content. This model, he contends, is less about generating profit and more about extracting rent, resulting in a system reminiscent of feudalism, where lords relied on serfs to work their lands. While the author’s thesis holds merit, it lacks the originality he ascribes to it. Drawing parallels between Greek mythology and television programs, though intriguing, often lacks coherence, and his penchant for broad generalizations that fail under scrutiny renders the text convoluted in many instances. As is customary for such works, a hopeful concluding chapter is included, wherein Varoufakis revisits notions like employee ownership of businesses and stakeholder oversight councils, popularized in the 1970s, as potential solutions. While the narrative possesses moments of entertainment, delivered candidly, the author’s arguments are bound to resonate with economists and students alike. Regrettably, the book’s deficiencies overshadow its exploration of the rise of tech giants, a subject deserving of a more thorough and contemplative examination.

Varoufakis presents cogent insights on the dominance of big tech, but his erratic presentation undermines the book’s credibility.

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Author: Yanis Varoufakis 

Page Count: 304

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Mary Owens

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