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Message posted on 26/05/2023

Please announce -New book: Technology and Oligopoly Capitalism

Just published (April): Technology and Oligopoly Capitalism. By Luis Suarez-Villa. Routledge, 2023. [To request inspection copy: ]

Description: Technology and Oligopoly Capitalism is a major contribution to our understanding of how technology oligopolies are shaping America’s social, economic, and political reality.

Technology oligopolies are the most powerful socioeconomic entities in America. From cradle to grave, the decisions they make affect the most intimate aspects of our lives, how we work, what we eat, our health, how we communicate, what we know and believe, whom we elect, and how we relate to one another and to nature. Their power over markets, trade, regulation, and most every aspect of our governance is more intrusive and farther-reaching than ever. They benefit from tax breaks, government guarantees, and bailouts that we must pay for and have no control over. Their accumulation of capital creates immense wealth for a minuscule elite, deepening disparities while politics and governance become ever more subservient to their power. They determine our skills and transform employment through the tools and services they create, as no other organizations can. They produce a vast array of goods and services with labor, marketing, and research that are more intrusively controlled than ever, as workplace rights and job security are curtailed or disappear. Our consumption of their products---and their capacity to promote wants---is deep and far reaching, while the waste they generate raises concerns about the survival of life on our planet. And their links to geopolitics and the martial domain are stronger than ever, as they influence how warfare is waged and who will be vanquished.

Technology and Oligopoly Capitalism’s critical, multidisciplinary perspective provides a systemic vision of how oligopolistic power shapes these forces and phenomena. An inclusive approach spans the spectrum of technology oligopolies and the ways in which they deploy their power. Numerous, previously unpublished ideas expand the repertory of established work on the topics covered, advancing explanatory quality---to elucidate how and why technology oligopolies operate as they do, the dysfunctions that accompany their power, and their effects on society and nature. This book has no peers in the literature, in its scope, the unprecedented amount and diversity of documentation, the breadth of concepts, and the vast number of examples it provides. Its premises deserve to be taken into account by every student, researcher, policymaker, bibliographer, and author interested in the socioeconomic and political dimensions of technology in America.


  1. Introduction

  2. Power Pricing Co-Respectiveness Shareholder Returns Mergers and Acquisitions Entry Barrier Engineering Neo-Conglomerates Standards Setting Deregulation Innovation Development vs. Research Technological Barriers Intangibles International Projection Trade and the Dollar Cross-Shareholding Public Governance Anti-Regulatory Praxis Lobbying and Patronage Money in Politics Revolving Doors Judiciary System

  3. Accumulation Value Commodity Value Product Markets Competition Capital and Labor Accumulation and Pricing Oligopolistic Accumulation Consolidation Speculative Finance New Technologies Input Markets Imposing Terms Dual Oligopoly: Inputs, Products Labor Markets Insecurity Contingency Labor Uselabor Dual Oligopoly: Labor, Products Compound Oligopoly Complexity and Lock-In

  4. Transformation Elements Labor Capital Production Research and Product Development Commodification Commodity Fetishism Technological Fetishism Data Commodification Standardizing and Systematizing Reproduction Capital Resources Capacity for Work Labor Intangibles Capacity Utilization Excess Capacity Capacity-Price Engineering Typologies Extraction and Assemblage Integrative Production Inventive Appropriation

  5. Dysfunction Employment Technocapitalist Control Compensation and Productivity Long-Term Deficit Consumer Exploitation Pricing Differential Add-Ons Data Exploitation Clouds Networks Wants Contrivance Overconsumption Addictions Typologies Waste Toxicity and Pollution E-Waste Agro-Tech Microbiome Disruption Eco-Planetary Techno-Fixes Efficiency Mirage The Commons Lauderdale Paradox Access and Benefit Appropriation

  6. Domination Commodity Chains Arbitrage Labor Arbitrage Value Arbitrage Control Hierarchies Biotechnology Intellectual Property Cybernetics Financial Socio-Political Enforcement Enforcement Platform Multimodality Taxpaying Contractual Money Taxpayer Exploitation

  7. Techno-Oligarchy

Chapter abstracts:

  1. Power. Considers the sources of power of technology oligopoly capitalism. A broad scope on how power is amassed and imposed is unique in treatments of technology. Control over market pricing is critically addressed, to show the importance of co-respectiveness, purported optimization of returns, mergers, acquisitions, entry barrier engineering, standards setting, and deregulation for oligopolistic power. Conceptualization of technology neo-conglomerates provides insights on how oligopolies expand their power as they deepen control over market pricing. Innovation is examined---to consider how invention and research have been turned into marketing accessories. The vital relevance of intangible resources, their social reproduction, and the obstacles posed by technology oligopolies are examined. International trade, monetary issues, and risky financial cross-shareholding are discussed critically. The influence of technology oligopolies on public governance considers strategies, how they promote anti-regulatory efforts, the spread of lobbying, patronage, and political contributions. The judiciary system’s role is addressed by considering landmark decisions and precedent as major sources of power. Treatment of strategies and actions---including those unique to technology oligopolies---and a vast amount of documentation make this chapter essential for researchers, students, policy-makers, and bibliographers. The contents of this chapter have no peer in the literature on technology, and are vitally important for specialists considering antitrust action.

  2. Accumulation. Analyzes the accumulative dynamic of technology oligopoly capitalism, its elements and market scenarios. Unique in its conceptualization of how the accumulative dynamic operates, and the importance of surpluses in the productive cycle. The relationship of oligopolistic capital accumulation to classical works provides much needed historical perspective on the importance of labor and capital in accumulation.
    Consideration of strategies that expand accumulation by capturing market segments---and the role of acquisitions, entry barriers, finance, data appropriation, clouds and platforms---document their importance for oligopolistic control over the productive cycle. Conceptualization and discussion of dual and compound oligopoly---and their relationship with aspects uniquely found in technology oligopolies---have no peers in the literature. Definition and elaboration of the concept of uselabor provides insights on a phenomenon unique to social media and search oligopolies. Emergence of uselabor and its relationship with the commercialization of the web, data appropriation, and capital accumulation is considered in detail. A vast amount of documentation makes this chapter a vital reference work for technology studies. The contents of this chapter should be considered essential reading and reference for researchers, students, policy-makers, bibliographers, and those interested in knowing how technology oligopolies became as important as they are.

  3. Transformation. Examines the deep structure of how commodities are transformed through production, research and product development. Unique in its breadth, details, and documentation. Distinctive systemic elements and phenomena of productive transformation are considered critically. The relationship of transformation to classical works and their views on labor provides historical perspective, relating it to critical aspects of value and creativity. In-depth treatment of the phenomena of commodification and reproduction is unprecedented in the literature, providing unique insights on the technology domain. Definition and elaboration of the concepts of technological fetishism and of capacity-price engineering explain distinctive operational features of oligopolistic control. Use of the concept of systematized research regimes to explain how research and product development operate provides necessary perspectives on the value of labor intangibles. Further development of the concept of uselabor explains how production operates in social media oligopolies, and its implications for fairness and justice. A typological analysis then provides a synthesis of how the multiple facets of transformation operate in concert. The vast amount of documentation makes this chapter a major reference work. This chapter has no peers in the literature, and should be of vital interest to bibliographers, researchers, policy analysts, students, and authors interested in how technology oligopolies produce, create and exploit.

  4. Dysfunction. Analyzes major systemic dysfunctions of technology oligopolies and their effects on economic wellbeing, health and nature. Influence of new technologies on employment and their dysfunctional effects regarding productivity, the long-term job deficit, and workplace control.
    Conceptualization of consumer exploitation has no peers in the technology literature. Role of the pricing differential as a dysfunctional feature of consumption is documented with numerous examples. Unique in its conceptualization of data exploitation in technology oligopolies, the role of networks and data clouds.
    Conceptualization of wants contrivance, its effects and typologies, provides much needed perspective. Analyses of the micro- and macro-panorama of waste and their effects on the environment, health and nature have no peer in the literature. Examination of proposed techno-fixes to eco-planetary dysfunction emphasizes the urgency of addressing carbon emissions, climate change and the destruction of life. Consideration of the commons addresses dysfunctional aspects of access, benefit and expropriation---addressing the contradiction between private wealth and collective benefit. Extensive documentation makes this chapter a major reference work for bibliographers, students, researchers, policy analysts, and authors interested in technology. The contents of this chapter have no peer in the technology literature, and should be considered required reading for courses on technology and society, policy analysis, and social economics.

  5. Domination. Provides macro-systemic perspectives on the vital importance of global domination for technology oligopoly capitalism. Unique in how it relates technology oligopoly capitalism to the martial domain, and to global domination over new technologies. The symbiotic relationship between technology oligopolies and the martial domain is explored through several binding elements---geopolitics, commodity chains, labor and value arbitrage, and the setting of hierarchic global controls over the most advanced technologies. Technology-enabled, “soft” approaches to domination---and the role of technology oligopolies---are explored and documented. Ways of enforcing domination are analyzed, considering the role of technology oligopolies, their symbiosis with the military apparatus, and their global impacts. Multimodality in warfare---and its relationship with technology oligopolies---is explored and documented.
    The concept of taxpayer exploitation---and its relationship with the creation and use of new technologies by the martial domain---is presented and extensively documented. Numerous contemporary examples are provided throughout, along with a vast bibliography that reaches across the technology spectrum. The contents of this chapter have no peers in the literature, in their scope and multidisciplinary perspectives. The vast amount of documentation provided makes it essential reading for any researcher, student, author or bibliographer wishing to explore how technology oligopolies condition our contemporary global reality.

  6. Techno-Oligarchy. The existential impasse of technology oligopoly capitalism, and the relations of power imposed by a minuscule, but very wealthy and powerful elite, are core concerns of this chapter. Unique in its conceptualization of a totalistic supra-structure that operates as an alter state---to perpetuate the power of a minuscule elite. Its systemic inducement of social alienation---a pervasive feature of contemporary life---is examined. Alienation from nature, from invention and innovation, from governance, the martial domain, and from socially responsible taxation are considered---to link up with contents of previous chapters. This approach broadens the concept of social alienation, by relating it to macro-scale aspects of technology oligopoly capitalism that are unique in the technology literature. Ways to move forward are addressed, to help chart a trajectory that can provide constructive alternatives. The concept of totalistic control structure may motivate researchers and students to look into the macro dimensions of social systems, and the impacts of technology. Important for conceptualizations of social structure, and the evolution of the relations of power in society. The contents of this chapter should be considered essential reading for researchers, authors and students who wish to understand the power of oligarchic elites over technology, and the imposition of totalistic supra-structures.

Notes. Provide the most extensive documentation of any work in the technology literature (existing or past). Unique as a reference resource for bibliographers, librarians, students, researchers and policy-makers.
References can become the core of a digital library on technology---due to their breadth, their extent, and the level of detail. Such a library would be a major reference resource for the twenty-first century.

Luis Suarez-Villa is Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and of Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California (Irvine). Among his previous books are Corporate Power, Oligopolies, and the Crisis of the State; Globalization and Technocapitalism; and Technocapitalism: A Critical Perspective on Technological Innovation and Corporatism.

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