In Episode 109 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Financial Times Global Business Columnist, Rana Faroohar about her latest book dealing with the worlds of Big Tech and finance.
We are living in a dramatic period of societal change and uncertainty that most generations rarely get to experience. The changes we are experiencing are being driven primarily by a particular set of Internet-enabled technologies and businesses that are undergoing a rapid phase of consolidation.
The last time Americans saw anything similar was during the late 19th century. This was a period where people’s relationships to nature and to the land were being radically reshaped by the railroads, industrial capitalism, and urbanization. Their sense of time and space, their relationships to their communities, and to each other were being profoundly reordered and this produced an unprecedented amount of anxiety. Like today, this period coincided with a rise in populism and calls for heavy-handed regulation of what had become industrial monopolies. These monopolies were able to set prices and use anti-competitive tactics to bankrupt their competitors. Independent oil refiners, for instance, had to sell out to John D. Rockefeller, because he not only got preferential rates on his oil shipments, but Standard Oil was also getting rebates from the railroads on every barrel shipped by his competitors. And these types of anti-competitive practices were going on across the board in steel, tobacco, etc.
It took a long time for the public to catch up, and for journalists like Ida Tarbell to emerge, who could begin to bring a necessary level of clarity to what was happening. Something similar is happening today with journalists and authors like Rana Foroohar and Shoshana Zuboff. The battlelines of 21st-century capitalism and liberalism are being radically redrawn. If we want to have a say in what this world looks like, we will need to educate ourselves and others about what’s gone wrong and how we can start to fix it. This episode is a step in that direction.
You can access this week’s overtime segment, transcript, and rundown through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application.
Full episode link: https://hiddenforces.io/podcasts/rana-foroohar-big-tech-finance/
Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
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