Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
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If the stories they tell about themselves are to be believed, all of the tech giants--Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon--were built from the ground up through hard work, a few good ideas, and the entrepreneurial daring to seize an opportunity when it presented itself.
With searing wit and blistering commentary Bit Tyrants provides an urgent corrective to this froth of board room marketing copy that is so often passed off as analysis. For fans of corporate fairy-tales there are no shortage of official histories that celebrate the innovative genius of Steve Jobs, liberal commentators who fall over themselves to laude Bill Gates's selfless philanthropy, or politicians who will tell us to listen to Mark Zuckerberg for advice on how to protect our democracy from foreign influence.
In this highly unauthorized account of the Big Five's origins, Rob Larson sets the record straight, and in the process shreds every focus-grouped bromide about corporate benevolence he could get his hands on. Those readers unwilling to smile and nod as every day we become more dependent on our phones and apps to do our chores, our jobs, and our socializing can take heart as Larson provides us with maps to all the shallow graves, skeleton filled closets, and invective laced emails Big Tech left behind on its ascent to power. His withering analysis will help readers crack the code of the economic dynamics that allowed these companies to become near-monopolies very early on, and, with a little bit of luck, his calls for digital socialism might just inspire a viral movement for online revolution.
About the Author
Rob Larson is Professor of Economics at Tacoma Community College and author of Bleakonomics and Capitalism vs. Freedom from Zero Books. He writes for a variety of venues including Jacobin, In These Times, Current Affairs and Dollars & Sense.