Technocapitalism: A Critical Perspective on Technological Innovation and Corporatism

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A new version of capitalism, grounded in technology and science, is spawning new forms of corporate power and organization that will have major implications for the twenty-first century. Technological creativity is thereby turned into a commodity in new corporate regimes that are primarily oriented toward research and intellectual appropriation. This phenomenon is likely to have major social, economic, and political consequences, as the new corporatism becomes ever more intrusive and rapacious through its control over technology and innovation.

In his provocative book Technocapitalism, Luis Suarez-Villa addresses this phenomenon from the perspective of radical political economy and social criticism. Grounded in the premise that relations of power influence how human creativity and technology are exploited by the new corporatism, the author argues that new forms of democratic participation and resistance are needed, if the social pathologies created by this new version of capitalism are to be checked.

Considering the new sectors affected by technocapitalism, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, bioinformatics, and genomics, Suarez-Villa deciphers the common threads of power and organization that drive their corporatization. These new sectors, and the corporate apparatus set up to extract profit and power through them, are imposing standards, creating business models, molding social governance, and influencing social relations at all levels. The new reality they create is likely to affect most every aspect of human existence, including work, health, life, and nature itself.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In an era when technology is routinely treated as magical and liberatory, Luis Suarez-Villa has written the long overdue and necessary antidote to such flabby analysis and ludicrous self-congratulation. Technocapitalism is an outstanding book that should be read by all students, scholars and citizens who need to understand technology in the real world of capitalism and corporate power rather than the fairy tale world of the upper-middle class individuals doing their own thing in the sacred free marketplace. Our species faces extraordinarily serious issues in the coming generation, and an honest assessment of the political and economic forces around us is the necessary place to begin." 
—Robert W. McChesney, Gutgsell Endowed Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Suarez-Villa has created a highly original work, carefully crafted and well-written. This is a sweeping and grand theoretical analysis of the post post-industrial iteration of capitalism that he terms 'technocapitalism'. The synthesis of literatures is very impressive but the work goes well beyond synthesis to create new arguments and paradigms for understanding contemporary capitalism and its possible futures. The analysis is rooted in a strong humanism that embraces technological change whilst regretting the corporatist forces that shape its direction and manifestations. Technocapitalism represents an important contribution to the scholarly literature." 
—Joel Bakan, author/filmmaker of The Corporation, Professor of Law, University of British Columbia

"Technocapitalism raises important critical perspectives about what Suarez-Villa finds to be the latest major stage of global capitalism. He gathers and analyzes several aspects of the social organization of technological change to provide a distinctive synthesis of literatures and arguments" 
—Rick Wolff, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Visiting Professor at the New School University in New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439900420
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Luis Suarez-Villa is a Professor in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, specializing in the political economy of technology, development, and corporate capitalism.

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Table of Contents


Society as Laboratory 
Accumulation and Power 
Experimentalism as System 

Creativity as a Commodity 
Creativity versus Commodification 
Utility and Value 
Reproduction and Commodification 
Commodification as Process 

Networks as Mediators 
Network Extent 
Hierarchies and Control 
Power and Inequity 
Change over Change 

Decomposing the Corporation 
Networks versus the Corporation 
Decomposition and Power 
Pathology of Decomposition 

Experimentalist Organizations 
Systematized Research Regimes 
Collaboration and Power 
Pathological Pursuits 

Downfall of Public Democracy 
Hegemony of Corporatism 
Empowering Creativity 
Rediscovering the Social


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