Chokepoint Capitalism

(Trade paper)
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Corporate concentration has breached the stratosphere, as have corporate profits. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers) or monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers) - or both.

In Chokepoint Capitalism, scholar Rebecca Giblin and writer and activist Cory Doctorow argue we're in a new era of 'chokepoint capitalism', with exploitative businesses creating insurmountable barriers to competition that enable them to capture value that should rightfully go to others. All workers are weakened by this, but the problem is especially well illustrated by the plight of creative workers. From Amazon's use of digital rights management and bundling to radically change the economics of book publishing, to Google and Facebook's siphoning away of ad revenues from news media, and the Big Three record labels' use of inordinately long contracts to up their own margins at the cost of artists, chokepoints are everywhere.

By analysing book publishing and news, live music and music streaming, screenwriting, radio, and more, Giblin and Doctorow deftly show how powerful corporations construct 'anti-competitive flywheels' designed to lock in users and suppliers, make their markets hostile to new entrants, and then force workers and suppliers to accept unfairly low prices.

In the book's second half, Giblin and Doctorow explain how to batter through those chokepoints, with tools ranging from transparency rights to collective action and ownership, radical interoperability, contract terminations, job guarantees, and minimum wages for creative work.

Chokepoint Capitalism is a call to workers of all sectors to unite to help smash these chokepoints and take back the power and profit that's being heisted away - before it's too late.

'We all know something is wrong about every click, stream, and purchase we make - unfairly depriving value creators of their worth, while enriching the wealthiest and most extractive entities in human history. Instead of just complaining about the corporate stranglehold over production and exchange, Giblin and Doctorow show us why this happened, how it works, and what we can do about it. An infuriating yet inspiring call to collective action.'
-Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus and Survival of the Richest

'An urgent, profound, and approachable take on what it's going to take to save our culture. If you care about books, movies, or music, read this book right now. And share a copy with a friend.'
-Seth Godin, author of The Practice

'Chokepoint Capitalism is not just a fascinating tour of the hidden mechanics of the platform era, from Spotify playlists to Prince's name change, but a compelling agenda to break Big Tech's hold. It presents a clear new way to think about corporate power - and a path to taking that power back for cultural creators and all of us.'
-Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble and cofounder of Avaaz