May 23, 2024

I read this book. Now I feel depressed. And hopeful.

Techno-prole, techno-serf or vassal capitalist.

Which are you?

Unless you’re Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg, or a shareholder of Google, Microsoft and their ilk, you’re very likely to be one of these three. Even Elon Musk was a mere vassal capitalist until he bought Twitter.

In fact you’re even more likely to be two out of the three.

If you work for a tech company, for ever-deflating wages, under increasingly draconion conditions, you’re a techno-prole, beavering away at making other people jobs redundant. And eventually your own.

If you run your own business, increasingly dependent on Amazon or Microsoft, or Alibaba, or Ebay, or ChatGPT, paying increasingly through the nose for the privilege, you’re a vassal capitalist, to be milked.

If you spend time online, for work or leisure, you’re a techno-serf. Producing valuable data for Big Tech. Making sense of data in a way that AI can’t do (yet). Telling Big Tech all about your hopes and dreams, telling them exactly what pushes your buttons. Telling them how best to manipulate you into doing what’s good for them, not necesarily good for you, or the species. All free, gratis and for nothing. As a side-effect of being human.

This is not science fiction.

This is not the future.

This is now.

Yanis Varoufakis has simply put a name to what is already here.

But as Adam knew, naming things gives us power over them. When we know the shape of what we’re dealing with, we can deal with it more effectively. And the ways to deal with technofeudalism are surprisingly simple. The tools are already in place. They’re tried and tested. And some people are already using them.

If you are a small business owner, you can too.

Make your business employee-owned. One payslip, one share. Salaries can vary according to responsibility. Bonuses can vary according to contribution. Who decides? Everyone. Because your business is also employee-run. One payslip, one vote. On every strategic decision.

This is just one of the tools outlined at the end of this book. A tool that can be brilliantly supported by the work I do.

Which is why after reading it, I feel hopeful.

I recommend you read it too.

Discipline makes Daring possible.