The idea that we are entering an era of techno-feudalism that will be worse than capitalism is chilling and controversial. We asked former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to elucidate this idea, explain how we got here, and map out some alternatives.

  • @Ashyr@sh.itjust.works
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    1035 months ago

    This is always the goal of capitalism, no need to give it some alternative name on order to white wash the brand.

    The answer is Democratic socialism. It’s our stuff they’re stealing, we can take it back.

    • @CookieOfFortune@lemmy.world
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      285 months ago

      Capitalism isn’t a form of government the way democratic socialism is? But to your point, even Adam Smith realized the problems with a legal and governmental system that is controlled by corporations to be a terrible idea. He was well aware that profit motives without limit leads to mistreatment of individuals.

      • @Ashyr@sh.itjust.works
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        195 months ago

        Yes, I’m not implying capitalism is a form of government. I’m saying the form of government best suited to containing the excesses of capitalism is Democratic socialism.

        • @CookieOfFortune@lemmy.world
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          95 months ago

          I’d like to think most democracies would enact some socialist policies if there was less money involved in politics… but I’m not sure what the best way to prevent that is.

          You can craft laws but the legal system is also profit driven. And you’d need some way to either prevent corruption or get the motivations to line up correctly. But I can’t think of any practical solutions that also align with freedoms.

          • My perspective is that the larger the organization is, the more likely it’ll get a carve-out in the law. The more complex the law, the more carve-outs special interests get.

            So making more laws isn’t the solution here, we should be striving to make simpler laws. For example, instead of a complex system of carbon emissions standards for vehicles based on type, just charge a carbon tax that approximates the cost of removing that carbon. The former gave us massive SUVs because they’re regulated as light trucks instead of passenger cars (so they have lighter regulations), the latter would encourage higher efficiency without a slew of regulations.

            get the motivations to line up correctly

            That’s the preferred solution imo.

            But I can’t think of any practical solutions that also align with freedoms.

            A lot of leftists look at government as the hammer to solve problems. Sometimes that’s the right approach, but often it’s not.

            What seems to work consistently is to make bad things expensive/criminal. If people die due to negligence (e.g. irresponsible cost cutting), put anyone involved in jail. If the payoff is higher than the penalty for bad behavior, increase the penalty.

            • @CookieOfFortune@lemmy.world
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              15 months ago

              Yeah it would be nice if we could simplify instead of add a bunch of special cases.

              However it’s easier said than done. In your example for carbon tax, how do you determine the cost of removing carbon? Does creating a new solar/wind power plant count? Does increasing efficiency in an existing home count? What’s the difference between that and just paying for carbon capture? This is what the carbon offset economy was supposed to be about but it’s ultimately difficult to implement correctly and inherently full of complexities. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try, but it’s really hard to simplify some things.

              I think there’s evidence to show that even though punishments may be heavy, if the chance of getting caught is low people will still do it. So that means you’d need to increase surveillance and enforcement which comes with it’s own issues.

              • how do you determine the cost of removing carbon

                Estimate. Start with a low estimate for the social cost of carbon and see how the market reacts. At the same time, we can provide grants for carbon sequestration projects, but no subsidies for categories of solutions.

                Does creating a new solar/wind power plant count?

                No, solar/wind would also pay a carbon tax based on their manufacturing processes, though that would be a lot less than fossil fuel generation.

                I’m not a fan of subsidies since those encourage “creative accounting,” and instead prefer simple, quantitative penalties.

                This is what the carbon offset economy

                No, the carbon offset economy was supposed to be a way to allow creative accounting to limit responsibility.

                If an org wants to install renewables to offset some of their energy use, then they need to actually use the energy to offset their energy use, not just tally it up. I don’t care about generation numbers, I care about tons of CO2 and other emissions.

                if the chance of getting caught is low people will still do it

                Right, so increase the chance that cheaters will get caught. Set default emissions numbers to a high (but reasonable) number based on worst case estimates, and require orgs to prove they’re emitting less. Do it for all imports and domestic industries alike so it’s fair.

                Then randomly audit after approval. If companies get caught, fine and revert to the high estimate until they prove they’ve fixed their accounting (perhaps after some number of years of correct reports). This should be highly automatable, and I’m guessing most domestic orgs already have high quality numbers.

                That’s a really simple solution since there’s no complex adjustments based on local offsets, just number of tons emitted. The only tricky business is sequestration, and orgs would need to prove it’s actually sequestered.

    • Neuromancer
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      135 months ago

      Democratic socialism is run by capitalism. Sweden is actually more capitalist than America.

      • @CommanderCloon@lemmy.ml
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        5 months ago

        Social democracy is a system that is completely different from democratic socialism. SocDems are capitalists, DemSocs are absolutely not.

      • Poggervania
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        215 months ago

        Also the Netherlands is still very much capitalistic while having much more protections for their citizens.

        This isn’t a blanket “capitalism bad”, it’s the fact we allowed our country to be bought out by capitalism.

        • Neuromancer
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          115 months ago

          Hell I am a Republican and I think we have given corporations too much power. I am not opposed to wealthy people or billionaires or whatever. What I am against is the companies running the show and having undue influence over the government. People like Zuckerberg have way to much power over the government and that isn’t good.

          I used to be against heavy regulations but we have gone to the other extreme of too little regulations. Things like outsourcing jobs to other countries, building all our crap in China, union smashing, etc all should be stopped. A strong middle class is important to the success of the country. Most of these companies are built on a house of cards and need more regulation to keep the economy safe. I hate the term too big to fail because we shouldn’t let any company get that large. I am tired of all the mergers that lead to layoffs, higher prices, and less choice.

          I am tired of my insurance being tied to my employer. I am tired of forced arbitration agreements. While I have never been laid off, I am tired of the mass layoffs. Companies should be forced to pay 1 year of severance to anyone laid off. I am tired of executives of companies milking the company for their benefit. Boards are not held accountable.

          The problem isn’t capitalism but human nature. We see it in every type of government or economic system. People get greedy and jack crap up. I want companies to make a profit, that is how to fund our retirement systems but I don’t want it done in a way that destroys the company long term or causes thousands to lose their jobs.

          While I have many benefits from my job, as a nation, we don’t even have mandatory vacation, sick days, etc.

          • littleblue✨
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            255 months ago

            Anyone who self-identifies as a Republican at this point in time is either delusional or psychotic. Full stop.

            • Neuromancer
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              85 months ago

              Thanks for making an off topic comment. Anyone who voted democrat us delusional or psychotic as well

              • @Eldritch@lemmy.world
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                105 months ago

                To a lesser extent? Quite possibly. Ignorance though is heavily prevelent in both groups. All groups really. We’re all ignorant about some things. It’s impossible not to be. However Republicans do stand out however. Purposefully embracing and championing ignorance.

                Attacking trans people and burning books like the Nazis did is a bold move. We’ll see eventually if it works out differently this time.

          • @Eldritch@lemmy.world
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            125 months ago

            I am not opposed to wealthy people or billionaires or whatever. What I am against is the companies running the show and having undue influence over the government. People like Zuckerberg have way to much power over the government and that isn’t good.

            It’s the same picture.

            If you’re against people like Zuckerberg. You’re against billionaires etc. If you’re not against billionaires you’re not against people like Zuckerberg. You just want one you agree with. Musk maybe?

            I used to be against heavy regulations but we have gone to the other extreme of too little regulations.

            If only we knew who pushed for, and funded this. I mean it absolutely was not the wealthy or chad billionaires. They’re just good honest bros. They wouldn’t use that vast wealth to manipulate and lie to us.

            I am tired of my insurance being tied to my employer. I am tired of forced arbitration agreements

            Guess who. Guess who. Those things are in the vested interest of the wealthy and especially billionaires. Though they would never leave themselves subject to them.

            The problem isn’t capitalism but human nature.

            Oof, cognitive dissonance wins again. Capitalism that isn’t so tightly regulated that it struggles to exist. Only reinforces and encourages the worst of human behavior. They’re both a problem. Together they’re a perfect storm. Literally every one of your complaints can be directly attributed to your voting habits. (If you are truly Republican) You’ve enabled it all. (So have Democrats to a much lesser extent) And still stick with identifying as the problem. Note, I’m not saying Democrats are the solution. Slightly better problem perhaps. But certainly not a solution as they currently exist. But friend, you really need to work through the cognitive dissonance and indoctrination issues. In the end you will thank yourself if you do. And that’s what matters right?

            • Neuromancer
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              25 months ago

              Not at all. Have you ever been to a communist country? You see the same thing but on a worse scale. Lots of poverty and the small wealthy group. Capitalism isn’t the issue. Had you left your moms basement you’d know that.

              • @Eldritch@lemmy.world
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                145 months ago

                No. Communist countries don’t exist. There are ML countries. And yes, they’re as problematic as the unregulated capitalism countries.

                Capitalism is an issue. Has been for over 100 years. As has Lenin’s malformed ideologies for almost the last 100.

                You should stop digging for antiques in your mom’s basement. Before projecting on to others.

                I was sincere in advising you to address your cognitive dissonance.

                • Neuromancer
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                  25 months ago

                  I bet you say all this unironically in your head while wearing a Che shirt.

                  I don’t have any cognitive dissonance. Thank you very much.

                  Lenin, look how great that turned out.

          • we have gone to the other extreme of too little regulations

            The real problem is that consequences for bad behavior just aren’t crippling enough to deter bad behavior. Regulations often just place a price on bad behavior, and companies optimize for costs, so usually violating a regulation is just a cost of doing business.

            Regulations don’t necessarily improve behavior, they just fix a cost to it. So we should increase corporate liability so execs face criminal charges far more often (can’t pass that on to customers) and charge for negative externalities (like carbon taxes) so they have a consistent cost to factor into their balance sheets.

            outsourcing jobs to other countries, building all our crap in China

            Why? We have low unemployment, so we should be outsourcing our low value work so our workers can have the higher paying jobs. Making stuff here just makes it cost more, and reduces our labor pool.

            too big to fail

            The reason they’re too big to fail is because of cronyism. They use government to protect themselves from failure.

            I agree, we shouldn’t let companies get that big, but the solution isn’t forceful break-up, but removal of those protections that they’ve built up over the years. So things like cable companies throwing obstacles (read: regulations) in the way of competitors.

            We need to remove bad regulations and probably create some good new ones. But it all starts by removing protections so market forces can work.

            I am tired of my insurance being tied to my employer. I am tired of forced arbitration

            Do you know why that is? Wage and price controls during wartime forced companies to find ways to entice workers other than increasing wages, so we got the comprehensive benefits situation we have now. That worked its way into government, so things like the ACA take workplace benefits into account when determining what benefits you can have.

            So we should start by removing incentives for businesses to offer healthcare. Some ideas:

            • require employers to offer the cash value of any benefits they offer if the employee refuses them
            • replace workplace retirement options with a simplified and expensed IRA (let employers contribute like they can with HSA, but keep the same caps regardless of if they contribute)
            • restructure SS to be something like UBI instead of a retirement “plan” - simplifies retirement planning since you don’t need to factor in average income and whatnot

            In short, make W-2 employment look a lot more like self-employment so switching jobs doesn’t leave employees with a not of confusing decisions, they just pick based on pay and work environment.

            The problem isn’t capitalism but human nature

            Preach!

            In my opinion, the role of government is to police that human behavior, as in, ensure everyone is playing by the rules. Large organizations get a seat at the table that most of us don’t, and that needs to change.

            But as you said, the problem here isn’t “capitalism,” it’s special interests, and those exist regardless of economic system. The goal should be to make the system as transparent as possible so us plebs (read: journalists and independent auditing groups) can see and help fix problems. Thinking about the issue as “more” vs “less” regulation misses the point, the goal should be in simplifying government so it’s easier to catch those who cheat.

          • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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            15 months ago

            I’m a progressive and think conservatism is a totally valid political viewpoint - to continue doing what worked. And that is the social systems that worked so well for many decades. Unfortunately the GOP has become more and more reactionary for decades now (“paleo conservative”). So social democrats should be seen as conservatives really. And capitalists have accumulated so much money and power that it isn’t working any more.

            The problem isn’t capitalism but human nature. We see it in every type of government or economic system. People get greedy and jack crap up.

            I’d say the problem is that we don’t account for human nature in systems. We’ve elevated infinite greed as a totally valid and natural viewpoint, when it’s just not. In an environment with the right rules and basic fairness and decency you can absolutely tell most people to do something not for their own benefit because it’s for the public good, for your country, for your patients, and most people will be quite happy doing that.

            That gives cover to the few percent of people who are eternally greedy, see nothing but materialism, the “sociopaths” and narcissists and narrow minded ideologues. That really requires a kind of reconstruction.

            We need to specifically start thinking and talking about politics and business as systems that must be safeguarded against excess, and actively prevent people who care about nothing but money or power from advancing.

            And specifically because of climate change we need to start thinking about a plan. Because it’s an emergency similar to a war “all or nothing” economy we need to create a “limited planned economy” for certain sectors and allow for eminent domain to transfer sectors into public hands - at least for sectors that you can’t reasonably assume they can be induced with market regulations and things like carbon taxes. Because capitalists will always game the system and maximize profit. That has to be understood and CEOs put in charge that understand that besides profit, they are not to oppose regulations or rules of the game set by society.

            I’d be very curious if you think conservatives in the GOP could be convinced by any of this?

            • Neuromancer
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              25 months ago

              I’m a progressive and think conservatism is a totally valid political viewpoint (“paleo conservative”)

              The main problem I have with my party is they are not for things as much as they are against what the other side wants to do. That to me is annoying as hell. It’s not longer both sides submitting ideas and working towards a middle, it is Democrats throwing out items and the Republicans just trying to block it. I want compromise. There are many things I side with the progressive on but honestly, they shouldn’t be “progressive ideas”. They should idea that both parties should support to varying degrees but as you said the paleo conservatives which I can’t argue against really. A good example is a national healthcare program and abortion. As a conservative, historically freedom of how to live your life was a core value. That should mean the Republican party should support abortion to some degree which they don’t. National Health care Republicans care just want to veto rather than work for a compromise.

              I’d be very curious if you think conservatives in the GOP could be convinced by any of this?

              The younger generation is much inline with that but the older generation, no. I think as they age out you will see a very different party. Right now we are the “MAGA” party many of them have nothing in common with the Republican party and oddly seem to be religious conservatives. I would like to see a purge of the religious conservatives from the party as part of our healing process. Get back to the true roots of conservatism and not this overly religious, idiotic version we have now.

              It is frustrating when you have the average person claiming the climate isn’t changing. It is something we can watch in our own lifetime. The first step is to get them admit something is different which has been next to impossible to do. I honestly am not sure if it’s a cycle or do to man-made activity and I don’t think the debate is important when we can’t even get people to accept, the climate has changed. I look forward to a less polluted planet. I don’t care if it’s a cycle or man made, I think less pollution is good either way. You see that attitude in younger republicans but the older ones will drive ICE Trucks just because the Democrats want them to go electric. That in a nutshell the problem with the party. It isn’t about being for something as it is against something.

    • @novibe@lemmy.ml
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      75 months ago

      Yeah sure… it worked great for Chile. Unless there is a wave of democratic socialism all over the western world, specially the US, all at the same time, it’ll just be squashed by fascism backed by the US and friends.

      The only real solution that has worked before is a communist revolution. Like it or not.

      • @SpaceCowboy@lemmy.ca
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        25 months ago

        The only real solution that has worked before is a communist revolution.

        You have an interesting concept of something “working”.

        The actual solution that worked before is trust busting and Keynesian economic policy.

        • @novibe@lemmy.ml
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          25 months ago

          What is your definition of working? I’d say communist revolutions have indeed worked. I base that on data, facts and the material conditions of places that had a revolution compared to countries in similar economic and geopolitical situations.

          Cuba is doing much better than most Latin American countries. In most areas it’s doing MUCH better.

          China is doing infinitely better than any other comparable country, like India. It’s not even a comparison.

          The USSR was also doing much better than any country in a comparable situation when it did exist.

          How did these revolutions “not work”?

          • @SpaceCowboy@lemmy.ca
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            25 months ago

            Cuba is doing much better than most Latin American countries. In most areas it’s doing MUCH better.

            I was just in Cuba last year. A doctor makes $35 per month. The cab to the airport cost almost that much. A cab drive makes more than a doctor’s monthly salary from two fares. Their money is ridiculously screwed up. The official exchange rate is something around 24 CUP to the dollar. But at the airport it’s like 1/3 that value. And in the black market it’s 1/6 that value. People live in poverty while the government buildings are immaculate marvels. The people I talked with there know how messed up the country is.

            China is doing infinitely better than any other comparable country, like India.

            You mean the country where capitalism is thriving and labour unions are illegal? Where billionaires dominate the ruling party? China is communist in name only.

            The USSR was also doing much better than any country in a comparable situation when it did exist.

            It was doing great… until it collapsed? Great success story!

            Sorry but whatever you’re reading isn’t very accurate.

  • Alien Nathan Edward
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    635 months ago

    Silicon Serfdom?

    No that’s still capitalism. Capitalism is still the problem. To call it anything else is apologetics, the core issue is that the private ownership of the means of production leads to a concentration of power in the hands of precisely the wrong kind of people after selecting for and reinforcing the most selfish behaviors in them. It then allows them to essentially usurp whatever form of government exists.

    • @cucumber_sandwich@lemmy.world
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      215 months ago

      There is a difference however. The techno feudalists are no longer about the means of production. Instead they increasingly show rent-seeking behaviour. Businesses looking to own “market places” and becoming brokers of other people’s services is a techni feudalist trend. Take Amazon for example. They sell top spots in their search directly to business customers. An app store monopoly is more akin to land ownership than classic factory capitalism.

      • Alien Nathan Edward
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        105 months ago

        okay but land ownership and rent seeking are inherent, inevitable parts of capitalism. Even Smith talked about how rent-seeking is an unavoidable outcome of a system where one person can own what another needs, and about how in order to succeed capitalism will require some way of discouraging or taxing rent-seeking. “As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed and demand a rent even for its natural produce.” This isn’t a new phenomenon and it’s not a return to pre-capitalism, it’s capitalism doing what we all new it was going to do from the beginning.

      • @banneryear1868@lemmy.world
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        75 months ago

        Problem I have with calling this a feudal arrangement is a lot of serfs actually had family rights to their land/means of production under land tenure agreements. It’s more the notion of private ownership of land and production that has led to these private technology increasingly mediating more of our lives. I’ve seen the concept of technofeudalism used in good ways but the overall thing is capitalism and they are more elements of feudal type arrangement within that.

        • Alien Nathan Edward
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          45 months ago

          Precisely this. The few rights that feudal peasants did have are being ferreted out as “inefficiencies”

  • rem26_art
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    375 months ago

    lol Yanis is def making the rounds cuz of his new book. He also talked about this on Adam Conover’s podcast, Factually a few weeks ago.

    iirc he’s saying that we’re at the point where some of the richest people have moved from owning the means to actually produce things to providing platforms for exchanging goods for money to happen on, while basically charging rent. He compares it to feudalism in that a company like Amazon or Apple with its app store are feudal lords who come in and collect money off of each transaction made by the “serfs” (people who sell and buy things on these markets), basically in exchange for being allowed to list. And increasingly, its getting harder and harder to do business without dealing with one of these tech giants. I think he mentioned how WeChat is another good example of this in China, where they’re involved in like everything

    • PositiveNoise
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      5 months ago

      I read a similar article a few weeks ago, and I think your concise summary is better than the article linked in this post.

      I think Yanis goes a bit overboard with stating that capitalism kinda no longer exists, since it really is about a new group of rich people simply inserting their companies as evil middlemen who leach money off the whole system.

      I’m not sure the solution has to be revolutionary or super complex. I’d think that large countries and groups of countries (e.g. USA, the EU) could implement their own mega marketplaces, leaching off much less money and avoiding the sort of corrupt BS that Amazon etc do to keep prices artificially high, and these governments could also stop allowing the mega platforms to do business in their region. Big countries want to facilitate an economy, and if private industry is proving to be too broken with their current approach, governments could step in to create more functional marketplaces that still work nicely in the internet age and don’t have horrible middlemen crap dragging everything down.

      • @Omniraptor@lemm.ee
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        5 months ago

        Yanis goes a bit overboard with stating that capitalism kinda no longer exists, since it really is about a new group of rich people simply inserting their companies as evil middlemen who leach money off the whole system.

        The difference between rents and profits in economics is crucially important tho, and so many people in these threads seem not to get it. one is progressive and at least in theory moves us closer to post scarcity. and the other does the complete opposite. Yanis is right to emphasize that difference. And his proposals are perfectly market based- he wants to use the government to create competition for the current digital rentiers. if you force them to compete again so they might get back to providing added value instead of just being leeches.

        People love to harp about Radical Marxist Muslim Obama but he was onto the same thing with his “public option”. Just like it is now hard to live without interacting with big tech, it’s hard to live without interacting with private health insurance. And in the same way, health insurance can never be a truly free market because the opportunity cost of not buying insurance is well, you know…

        • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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          5 months ago

          Have you read his book? I’d be curious what he suggests. I’ve just thought that if you could legislate to make marketplaces use some kind of “activitypub” protocol, you could federate them similar to social media. A protocol and open standard to exchange prices, descriptions, order conditions etc. So people could use alternatives to amazon/ebay and still have access to the large network of vendors. That would break the digital fiefdom. Is that something he discusses?

          The new EU payment directive also finally created instant wire transfers, so it’s now possible to directly and instantly pay vendors without having to pay a tax to paypal.

          Maybe the next thing is going to be delivery services with drones or self driving “micro vans”.

        • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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          25 months ago

          Federate Amazon! Imagine a kind of protocol / standard to exchange prices, descriptions, images, sale conditions, guarantees etc similar to activity pub. then you could use the same network of vendors as amazon.

          But it probably needs more regulations because amazon is so huge and powerful to destroy competitors.

          Maybe also federate / split up fulfillment warehouses.

            • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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              25 months ago

              We need the equivalent of keeping the phone lines and phone numbers compatible though. So that all the vendors that are on amazon can use a commonly shared internet protocol to also sell on other platforms, otherwise the network effects are lost and make splitting them up and true competition impossible.

      • rem26_art
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        35 months ago

        ya middlemen is a good term for it. I don’t think that it really needs an entirely separate branding from capitalism, but idk i guess that also makes for an eye catching headline.

        I agree that governments have the tools to deal with these kinds of things. It’s just getting them to actually do something about it that’s beneficial to us as average people is the tough part lol.

        • @0xD@infosec.pub
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          55 months ago

          They are not just middlemen, they control the entire sales platform - both buyer and seller.

        • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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          15 months ago

          I do think a new term makes sense because these platforms both scale ultra large so “explode” in market power, and also can’t just be broken up using anti-trust laws because then the network effects of large network effects vanish (this is true for amazon and social media). So it is something different because of those new properties. I think federation and open protocols might be the answer to this.

      • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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        25 months ago

        I’d think that large countries and groups of countries (e.g. USA, the EU) could implement their own mega marketplaces, leaching off much less money

        Exactly! I’ve been saying this for a while that certain market places like amazon and ebay should become more public utility. I think craig’s list is the rare example of something actually owned by a person that is not just optimizing for profit. Social media should similarly be federated, which now with e.g. lemmy and mastodon seems much more plausible.

        Another example is that the recent payment service directive has finally created instant wire transfers - e.g. I can wire money instantly to a shop without having to wait a few days or needing a payment processor. It’s insane that it took 30 years for instant payments. So maybe the 1.5% to 3% tax that paypal sucks out of ecommerce economy can finally end.

        So maybe marketplaces could be federated as well and supported by regulations. For example some kind of open standard to exchange price info and order conditions etc. so that different services can use the same network of vendors and the customer can easily move from amazon or ebay to other alternatives without loosing the market network.

        So if there is techno-feudalism it definitely can be dismantled politically. Thanks for your comment, and thanks to Varoufakis - this is actually a very valuable insight I believe. I remember like 10 years ago people started talking about the monopolies rising out of the internet and how they should be broken up. But it was clear to me that classic anti-trust measures wouldn’t work, because there are network effects that are incredibly valuable. You don’t want to split up facebook because 10 separate social media are much less useful. But maybe now we’re at a point where we have the arguments (techno-feudalism) and the solutions (federation and regulations like a protocol like activitypub) to suggest actual policy! 🙂

      • livus
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        5 months ago

        @PositiveNoise idk, seems to me the big countries suffer from too much legislative capture for that.

        I live in a country where I do my taxes for free with one click and we don’t use paypal because we can all make free bank- to- bank deposits that clear in less than an hour.

        And the reason the US doesn’t have these basic things I’ve had for a decade is because of lobbying from Turbotax and the like.

      • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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        5 months ago

        Interesting, it seems so, but the DMA isn’t “marketed” as such or explains the problem and doesn’t suggest plausible solutions. What is needed I think is a kind of federation for marketplaces, so they need to use some kind of open protocol that allows others to use the same network of vendors etc. But it seems you could build on top of the DMA.

  • @neptune@dmv.social
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    335 months ago

    It’s really scary how much money Uber/Uber Eats/Amazon etc sucked out of local economies.

    • @Omega_Haxors@lemmy.ml
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      25 months ago

      I’m normally pretty chill about people’s spending habits, but if I catch you using that shit i’m calling you a bad person straight to your face.

  • @uriel238@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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    5 months ago

    We don’t serfdom well. Rich techbros can expect feces in their food and spittle in their drink, and eventially a guillotine party. Maybe armies of patrol drones will slow it down but the opportunities for mischief will be exciting.

    FDR’s New Deal was to prevent a communist revolution. And here we are, again.

    Now serfdom would work if they recognized people need bare minimums that keep them warm, fed and comfortable. But aristocrats always take thr serfs for granted.

  • @yesman@lemmy.world
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    225 months ago

    One of the things not addressed in this interview is how the ideology of libertarianism is central to the transition from markets to fiefdoms. All the big tech bros are huge libertarians and that’s not an accident.

    And I do think this is a new phenomena unlike classic capitalism. Marx thought that a post-scarcity society would mean more leisure, he didn’t anticipate that that leisure was just another source of value to exploit. Think of reddit selling it’s “content” to an AI company. That content wasn’t produced by coerced labor paid unfairly, it was produced by voluntary labor paid nothing.

    • @hglman@lemmy.world
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      45 months ago

      Marx didn’t anticipate information technology. Because of IT, we are moving to a new regime of humanity. The automation of action is part of the reason, but the most important is the ability of any group of people to communicate. The control of broadcast underpins the prior structures of power. Now, anyone can reach everyone, and we are watching the power of the state erode in the rise of fascism globally.

      • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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        25 months ago

        Yeah. I think social media should be seen as virtual worlds that created new types of “alternative nation” that are controlled by these “cloud capitalists”. They decide the rules of conduct and eCommerce and the shape of society.

  • ☆ Yσɠƚԋσʂ ☆
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    145 months ago

    To refer to this as feudalism gives an impression that capitalism functions effectively and we are transitioning away from it; however, in reality, we are merely progressing into the advanced stages of the same system. Let us simply acknowledge that it is indeed capitalism.

    • @Tak@lemmy.ml
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      65 months ago

      Capitalism is just feudalism with more steps, of course as capitalism completes those steps it will feel like feudalism. Wealth can’t grow infinitely yet in the attempt to do so our basic needs have been withheld from those who need.

      • ☆ Yσɠƚԋσʂ ☆
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        45 months ago

        I’d say capitalism is an evolution of feudalism that was facilitated by the industrial evolution. However, the two systems share most of the negative aspects, and in later stages of capitalism differences become increasingly negligible.

        • @Tak@lemmy.ml
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          35 months ago

          It’s meant to be an evolution of feudalism as the people creating capitalism are effectively the remnants of power from feudal society. There could be absolutely no industry and it would still be the system the non-royal but powerful would select.

          Look at the transition from the articles of confederation to the US constitution and the focus on the creation of currency in article 1. The “rights” people talk about were pushed for by the opposition to the constitution. The US constitution created effectively a capitalist version of the British empire and is analogous to the house of commons/lords/king. There was no term for the presidency, it could be for life and federal senators weren’t even voted for.

          I’d argue it’s effectively just an iteration of feudalism.

          • ☆ Yσɠƚԋσʂ ☆
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            65 months ago

            Well, specifically what changed was that under feudalism power in society was determined solely by birth. Either you were born a noble or you weren’t. Capitalism was rich merchants overthrowing the nobles and democratizing the oppression of the workers. I do agree that for the most part it is an iteration of the same system though.

            • @Tak@lemmy.ml
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              25 months ago

              In capitalism as long as there isn’t a way to keep wealth from passing down each generation it is effectively just like nobles. I don’t see much of a difference between the two if both are systems of inheriting massive land or assets that allow you to exploit the lower classes to perpetuate your status.

              • ☆ Yσɠƚԋσʂ ☆
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                35 months ago

                I agree, late stage capitalism starts to look a lot like feudalism because all the wealth ends up being concentrated in the hands of a few people, but there are some differences in the way the two systems function.

                • @Tak@lemmy.ml
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                  25 months ago

                  Totally agree. I’m not trying to say terms should have no meaning but that the difficulty distinguishing the two can be pretty easy because of how similar they are.

  • @sunbeam60
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    75 months ago

    What a load of hogwash.

    I understand the railing against rent seeking. It’s my land too, so why am I paying for it, and all. I mean, I disagree with the notion, but I understand it.

    This is entirely different. Cloud services haven’t been built for nothing - they are massive investment projects and like anything else we build that many use, capital allows us to distribute the cost. Yes there’s a profit motive and one could argue against it or not, but these services didn’t exist as natural resources that the cloud-lords dominated by force and then rented back to us. They built new lands and asked if anybody want to come live there.

  • littleblue✨
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    55 months ago

    Clearly, y’all need to play more Shadowrun. 🤘🏽🤷🏼‍♂️

  • @Flumpkin@slrpnk.net
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    5 months ago

    Not sure if I understand this correctly:

    Cloud capital is fundamentally different because it can be copied infinitely like a digital copy and requires exponentially less labor. This is different from owning and operating a factory (requires labor) or owning or renting land (limited). There might still be labor but it’s insignificant and it scales almost infinitely. That is why it’s rent on capitalism. It’s this infinite scalability that is the difference.

    You could develop a perfect alternative to amazon, ebay, paypal, facebook or google, messaging apps, app stores: The cloud capital isn’t in the software or the servers, it’s in the account network. Everyone can theoretically move services but that incurs costs by loosing your connections in the network. And marketing makes it so that the majority of people won’t do it. So once the network is established it extracts wealth without being productive.

    Another example would be paypal - they take something like 1.5% to 3% of all online transactions, practically a tax on all consumer transactions.

    And you use digital services all the time and are increasingly dependent on them. And they extract wealth without them having to produce content or advertising, they just rent their ad spaces.

    AI generation and robotics will become much more advanced in the coming decades. This too could become cloud capital and wealth extraction without requiring significant labor. Especially once we reach “robots building robots”.

    I’m also seeing a power grab for the means of generation coming. If public learning data has to be licensed especially for AI to learn from them, it will mean that the cloud capitalists will own the generative AIs. In their anger about big AI “stealing muh data”, people will help that IP law will change so that serfs will not be able to use generative AI freely. Maybe LLMs and generative AI are over hyped but they’ve come a long way in just a few years, in one or two decades it could be incredible cloud capital that extracts wealth to no end, without any labor involved at all.

    The feudalism bit I’m not sure about - presumably the scale of social media creates not just cloud capital and massive rents, it also creates political power. By subtly shaping how algorithms present content, we are being ruled by algorithms. The content we see makes us think certain things, argue about this and that and distracts us. MAGA is an example of a sub population mostly disconnected from reality and trapped in a prison for the mind. This is political power similar to a serf under a lord. Not sure how well that relates.

    He also mentions the global financial system, I imagine that globalization and increasing refinement of “financial products” also serve as a form of cloud capital that is no longer really tethered to real labor. It’s more and more speculative. The central bank constantly prints money and injects it and somehow it ends up in the hands of the cloud capitalists? But that existed before.

    Not sure if patents or IP fit into this. And again, not sure if I understand any of this correctly or if I buy any of this. But it’s certainly possible that the scale of certain forms of capital create completely different emergent structures. Even if it’s fundamentally the same mechanisms, technology might turn it into a completely different beast.

    He definitely didn’t do a great job explaining this - presumably Yanis Varoufakis wants us to buy his book. That old capitalist trick!