4/1 “Technofeudalism”: What Killed Capitalism w/ Yanis Varoufakis

April 1, 2024

Happy Monday! Sam and Emma speak with Yanis Varoufakis, economics professor and former Finance Minister of Greece, to discuss his recent book Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on continuing US arms sales to Israel, infrastructure regulation, Florida’s Medicaid dump, New Jersey’s ballot design, and new reports on racial biases in medicine, also watching Christiane Amanpour talk with Zahiro-Shahar Mor about Israel’s failing genocide. Professor Yanis Varoufakis then joins, first walking through the evolution from Feudalism’s formula of land ownership and rent extraction to Capitalism’s formula of the ownership of the means of production and profit extraction, before diving into his concept of “Technofeudalism,” a rising system of digital fiefdoms – Amazon a primary example – where products not produced by the owner of the platforms are sold with a massive rent extraction. Expanding on this, Professor Varoufakis explores the role of these platforms’ ownership of the means of behavioral modification (via the extraction of data, once again, not produced by them) as an example of what he calls “cloud capital,” which takes up massive proportions of the global GDP and siphons it off from the labor market, before stepping back to analyze the role of the 2008 financial crisis and the commitment to the neoliberal dynamic of austerity for the people, socialism for the banks, in allowing the private world to funnel massive amounts of investment into cloud capital and allow existing companies (Meta, Google, Amazon, etc) to establish these digital fiefdoms. Wrapping up, Professor Yanis Varoufakis tackles the role that various fiscal and anti-trust policies, the idea of a bill of digital rights, and workplace democratization could play in helping to reclaim and reshape these technofeudalist fiefdoms.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma watch Ramy Youssef say ‘Free Palestine’ to rapturous applause on SNL, Rep. Tim Walberg gets caught on camera calling for the genocide of Gaza, and Donald Trump Jr. talks hunting. They also watch Olayemi Olurin school Eric Adams on the Breakfast Club as they tackle the insane fear-mongering around crime in NYC, like “selling fruit” and “smoking weed,” plus, your IMs!

Check out Yanis’s book here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/751443/technofeudalism-by-yanis-varoufakis/

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