Episode

1/9 Chokepoint Capitalism w/ Cory Doctorow

January 9, 2023

Sam hosts author Cory Doctorow to discuss his recent book Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We’ll Win Them Back, co-written with Rebecca Giblin. First, Sam runs through updates on Kevin McCarthy finally overcoming his Freedom Caucus brethren to attain the speakership, the Brazilian coup attempt this weekend as well as the hardline responses to it, NYC’s nurses’ strike, and the striking down of more gun control measures, before diving into the Mike Rogers v. Matt Gaetz matchup from this weekend. Cory Doctorow then joins as he dives right into his examples of chokepoint capitalism, first looking to the wildly exploitative contracts of the 20th Century music industry, with mass monopolies by studios forcing artists into exploitative and debt-riddled contracts, only for the digital age and rise of Spotify to push the industry towards a monopsony, with Spotify as the primary purchaser of music, allowing them to force similarly exploitative deals on the same debt-riddled artists. They then shift to the monopsonistic scam run by Audible, as Amazon’s audiobook offshoot took Spotify’s blueprint and added internal lies and scams to bluff authors out of hundreds of millions in earnings, and wrap up that portion of the interview with the advertising monopolies of social media tyrants like Meta and Google. Cory then shifts the conversation to weakening the power of these capitalist chokepoints, where corporations can use the lack of competition to force horrendous contracts and conditions on laborers, focusing on the obvious elements of anti-trust and broader crackdown on anti-competitive practices, as well as pushing big tech interoperability to improve access for consumers and laborers, before concluding the interview with a discussion on the other massive project required: completely overhauling the US system of copyright laws.

And in the Fun Half: Sam talks with Jack from New Jersey about the difference between backlash to the “Never Kevvers” of the Freedom Caucus and the theoretical backlash to the Forced-Vote that never was, Marcus the Brazilian dives into the impact of Bolsonaro’s ambiguous concession speech and the following (lack of) coverage of it, as well as the vast differences to Biden’s response to 1/6 and Lula’s response to 1/8. Kowalski from NB gives major weather updates on California and Europe, and Sam dives into Larry Summer’s recent broadcast from paradise to tout his influence in cementing austerity as a tool of capitalism. Rachel from SF reflects on some good ol’ fasc-ioned racist San-Fran housing discrimination, @Indrid.Cold27 discusses the TikTok scene, and Sam and the crew tackle updates on Matt Schlapp’s alleged harassment, plus, your calls and IMs!

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