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If the stories they tell about themselves are to be believed, all of the tech giants—Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon—were built from the ground up through hard work, a few good ideas, and the entrepreneurial daring to seize opportunity. But economist and author Rob Larson aims to set the record straight. With searing wit from his new book Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley, Larson provides an urgent corrective to this narrative of Silicon Valley corporate benevolence. Larson skewers the official histories that celebrate the innovative genius of Steve Jobs, liberal commentators who fall over themselves to laud Bill Gates’ selfless philanthropy, and politicians who will tell us to listen to Mark Zuckerberg for advice on how to protect our democracy from foreign influence. Larson provides us with maps to all the shallow graves, skeleton-filled closets, and invective laced emails Big Tech left behind on its ascent to power. He offers us the tools to crack the code of the economic dynamics that allowed these companies to become near-monopolies. Join Larson for a blistering commentary on Big Tech and a call for digital socialism that urges us towards a viral movement for online revolution.
Rob Larson teaches Economics at Tacoma Community College in Washington. He is active with Occupy Tacoma and Jobs with Justice, and writes regularly for Dollars and Sense and Z Magazine. He is the author of Bleakonomics: A Heartwarming Introduction to Financial Catastrophe, the Jobs Crisis and Environmental Destruction, and Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.