Ford patents plutocratic lane-changes

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow In my 2017 novel WALKAWAY, there’s a scene where the protagonists get into a self-driving car owned by a ruthless plutocrat, only to discover that it moves faster than any other vehicle they’ve ever ridden. https://craphound.com/category/walkaway/ The plute explains that he’s done an illegal mod that lets him override […]

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Google’s monopoly rigged the ad market

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The quest to bring antitrust law to bear against tech companies is finally paying off, but it’s been a long, hard slog. At the vanguard have been two legal scholars: Columbia law’s Lina M Khan linamkhan and Yale’s Dina Srinivasan. The first watershed moment was Khan’s Jan 2017 Yale […]

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Amazon says only corporations own property

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow If you visit Amazon’s Prime Video homepage, you’ll see that the title of that page is “Rent or Buy: Prime Video.” There’s a plain-language meaning of “buy” that most of us understand, but Amazon says we’re wrong. https://www.amazon.com/rent-or-buy-amazon-video/ Amanda Caudel is a Prime user who brought suit against Amazon […]

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Bill Gates’s monopolistic mask-off moment

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Don’t let the sweater-vests and the (dilettantish) “education reform” work fool you: Bill Gates made his fortune through sheer robber-baronry, presiding over a vicious monopolist that shattered the law in its greedy quest for billions and permanent, global dominance. Microsoft’s illegal conduct was so blatant, persistent and obviously wicked […]

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Quantifying the meritocratic delusion

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Our societal narratives are invisible by dint of their ubiquity, but they are far more important in stabilizing the status quo that all the cops and jails and domestic surveillance agencies put together. Take inequality: when a few have much, and the many have little, the primary means of […]

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Warren Buffet, monopolist

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power is David Dayen’s new book about the concentration of industry in America and around the world; one interesting implication of monopolies is that they are intensely individual phenomena. https://thenewpress.com/books/monopolized That is, despite being driven by vast social forces, monopolies have monopolists: […]

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The rotten culture of the rich

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow In his 2019 book Dignity, Chris Arnade left his Wall Street job and traveled America, talking to poor, marginalized people, mostly at McDonald’s restaurants. Now, in a new essay for American Compass, Arnade delves into the “rotten culture of the rich.” https://americancompass.org/what-about-the-rotten-culture-of-the-rich/ Arnade starts with observations about how rich […]

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80% of Britons want happiness, not growth

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow A YouGov poll found 80% of Britons “would prefer the government to prioritise health and wellbeing over economic growth during the crisis, and 6 in 10 would still want the government to pursue health and wellbeing ahead of growth after the pandemic” https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/10/britons-want-quality-of-life-indicators-priority-over-economy-coronavirus GDP is a terrific example of […]

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.ORG has been snatched from the grasp of rapacious private equity billionaires

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The Internet Society (ISOC) is a nonprofit that is in the enviable position of receiving tens of millions of dollars every year merely for overseeing work that someone else does. ISOC has the contract to operate the Public Interest Registry, which contracts for the maintenance of the .ORG top […]

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The ideology of economics

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the 21st Century” advanced a simple, data-supported hypothesis: that markets left to their own will cause capital to grow faster than the economy as a whole, so over time, the rich always get richer. https://boingboing.net/2014/06/24/thomas-pikettys-capital-in-t.html He’s followed up Capital with the 1000-page “Capital and Ideology” […]

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The web is unusably beshitted with terrible ad-tech

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow The web is unusably beshitted and encrufted with popups, interstitials, rolldowns, nagware, paywalls, autoplaying video, ads that scroll with the page, and worse. I haven’t looked at the web without an adblocker in years and it’s still barely usable. https://www.cjr.org/first_person/the-infinite-scroll.php The modern web’s equilibrium is “as terrible as possible, […]

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Private Equity has sabotaged every attempt to end emergency room “surprise billing”

Originally published at pluralistic.net Cory Doctorow “Surprise billing” is when you go to the ER and discover that the doc, the specialist, or the test you got were performed by “independent contractors” who are not part of the hospital’s deal with your insurer. It means bills for thousands (literally) for an ice-pack. https://www.healthexec.com/topics/healthcare-economics/5751-ice-pack-hefty-bills-await-patients-just-walking-er The surprise […]

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