In this first Crash Course episode of the new series, we invite writer-activist Cory Doctorow to explore the rise of Rentier and Monopoly Capitalism in the tech sector. Is the platform economy in the last phase of what he calls Enshittification?
“First, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.” - Cory DoctorowWe will ask him:
How do big tech companies lock out competition and lock in users?To explain his concept of Enshittification and relate it to the rise of Rentier and Monopoly Capitalism.Are there historical parallels to the current trend? If so, what can we learn from them?Are we entering a new phase of capitalism where the rentier is at the top of the food chain? If platform and productive capital interests are at odds, what possibilities exist for workers and consumers to exploit this rift?How do we stop further corporate consolidation and monopoly power and build back a different economy?
Cory Doctorow is an activist and journalist. He writes seemingly non-stop about the internet, the future, radical changes in property rights and alternative futures. His work includes children’s books, fiction and non-fiction.
Topics include How to disassemble Big Tech, Creative labour markets and monopolies, and How to destroy surveillance capitalism. He is also known for his website, Pluralistic.net.
He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. He was born in Toronto, Canada, and now lives in Los Angeles, USA.
Check out more on Cory Doctorow on Pluralistic.net or Craphound.com
About Crash Course Economics
Crash Course is a platform designed to open up debate on how we can move out of the current crisis and make the necessary steps towards achieving social, economic, ecological and regenerative justice.
Crash Course is inviting global experts to break down complex issues in lay terms and make them accessible to all so that we can understand how to shape our economic system for a just recovery and future.
Music credit: "Capital G" by Nine Inch Nails, "Tribal Remix" by Imnotlouis (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US)