So-called surveillance capitalism was one of the big issues for the 2020s I identified in my first Economics Explained episode this year. Google, Facebook, and other tech giants have massive amounts of data on us and they are using it for commercial gain. In my latest Economics Explained episode, I discuss various perspectives on surveillance capitalism with my good friend Darren Brady Nelson, Chief Economist of LibertyWorks, an Australian libertarian think tank.
Darren’s recently had an article published on the Mises Institute website with the title Surveillance Capitalism: A summary of critics.
Use these timestamps to jump right to the highlights:
- 4:45 – Darren argues some criticism of surveillance capitalism is simply the latest manifestation of opposition to capitalism in general
- 11:40 – Darren mentions work by entrepreneur and Austrian economist George Gilder who thinks current tech giants are “going over the hill” (according to this Forbes article) and companies to watch will be in blockchain and quantum computing
- 25:55 – Darren mentions section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act, often referred to as “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet”
- 27:30 – discussion of how it’s monarchs or governments which have traditionally created monopolies – e.g. British East India Company
- 42.30 – mention of recent laws affecting tech companies – EU GDPR (e.g. see this Wired article) and California Consumer Privacy Act (for info, check out this Guardian article)
This is Darren’s second appearance on Economics Explained, and we spoke via Zoom video conferencing on the 18th of January 2020. If you haven’t listened to it yet, check out my first conversation with Darren, the Gig Economy Economics Explained episode.
Finally, a big shout out to previous Economics Explained guest Andrew Leigh MP for including Economic Explained in his list of his favourite podcasts he listens to while running in an AFR article earlier this week: