So how can people rebel against that? How could someone subvert from within and be a radical within that system?
You know, it's a kind of information academy that runs on attracting novelty. So whenever you do something new, it's going to immediately think that’s important information that can be turned into profit, it’s very hard to predict a way out.
Do you think there's a way for Gen Z to step aside from social media?
The whole thing relies on free labour. It relies on people giving their labour away. And you know, once you love the effect of being visible to friends, it’s very hard to take that away.
Your book Capital is Dead, Is This Something Worse? (Verso) - can you elaborate on how that book began?
It's sort of an update on Hacker Manifesto, which I wrote in 2004. So it's ten years of thinking about the thesis of the title. I was looking at the concept of, what if this isn't even capitalism? What if the way capitalism exists with a mode of production on top of it? In the same way that the peasant landlord class, they would rent to the worker. We tend to think everything became capitalism, but there's always like hybrid modes of production.
There's a line in the book - “the dominant ruling class of our time, owns and controls information”. Could you speak specifically about this idea of the ruling class owning and controlling data.
The biggest beneficiary, at least here in the states, during Covid-19 seems to be Amazon. Every small business owner is in desperate straits. But you know, because we’re all dependent and we need this, Amazon and Apple are the big winners.
How do you put the blinkers on yourself, do you do find ways to sort of be averse to branding and the whole content economy?
I grew up in the 1980s, I love a good brand that makes nice shoes and I'm fine with it. There's sort of a middle class morality about pretending you don’t enjoy branding or fashion. I think people need to just stop seeing themselves as a moral consumer, you're a consumer - that's just what you are.