Chokepoint Capitalism

The Rise of Chokepoint Capitalism and How Workers Can Defeat It

Hardcover, 304 pages

Published Sept. 20, 2022 by Beacon Press.

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5 stars (4 reviews)

A call to action for the creative class and labor movement to rally against the power of Big Tech and Big Media

Corporate concentration has breached the stratosphere, as have corporate profits. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers) or monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers)—or both.

In Chokepoint Capitalism, scholar Rebecca Giblin and writer and activist Cory Doctorow argue we’re in a new era of “chokepoint capitalism,” with exploitative businesses creating insurmountable barriers to competition that enable them to capture value that should rightfully go to others. All workers are weakened by this, but the problem is especially well-illustrated by the plight of creative workers. From Amazon’s use of digital rights management and bundling to radically change the economics of book publishing, to Google and Facebook’s siphoning away of ad revenues from news media, and the Big Three …

2 editions

Plattformkapitalismus ist, wenn einer alles gewinnt und alle anderen verlieren

4 stars

Mit ihrem Buch "Chokepoint Capitalism" weisen Rebecca Giblin und Cory Doctorow auf eine Eigenheit des Plattformkapitalismus à la Amazon oder Google hin, die bisher meiner Wahrnehmung nach nicht so klar angesprochen wurde: Plattformen sind bewusst darauf hinentwickelt, nicht nur Monopolist (also einziger Anbieter für ihre Kunden) zu sein, sondern gleichzeitig Monopsonist (also einziger Nachfrager für die Anbieter z. B. der Buchbranche). Auf diese Weise können sie in ihren Märkten sowohl aus den Anbietern von Produkten als auch aus den Kunden das meiste Geld herauspressen und sämtliche Renditen abschöpfen. Ein wichtiges Buch, das mal einen neue Dysfunktionalität unseres (digitalen) Wirtschaftssystems aufschlüsselt.

Naming the problem

No rating

Plenty of good anecdotes on the way companies use their position as dominent buyers or sellers to manipulate markets, pocket unfair shares of wealth, and generally make life worse for everyone who isn't their execs and shareholders. The collective solutions proposed all seem like reasonable starting points, too—but while I agree with their point that systemic problems require systemic solutions, I don't feel like I left the book with a starting point of how to work towards that change.

Maybe just naming the problem and talking about it is a sound enough starting point. Chokepoint Capitalism is a useful term, evocative and intuitive to understand, but also expansive enough to capture a whole world of corporate corruption. If it bleeds its way into more general discourse, that can only be a good thing.