The one sentence summary
The Internet has had a disastrous impact on our lives by increasing unemployment and economic inequality.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- Silicon Valley is full of hype, greed, egotism and inequity.
- Far from bringing democracy to all, it has concentrated phenomenal wealth in the hands of the top 1%. This is the One Percent Economy.
- Unemployment has been triggered by many Internet businesses. Amazon employs just 14 people per $10 million in sales, compared to 47 people for the equivalent in conventional bricks and mortar retailers.
- Some studies predict that as many as 47% of all American jobs could be lost in the next couple of decades.
- Meanwhile, the exploitative staff practices of Uber, Amazon and others give few, if any, rights, and unions are nowhere to be seen to represent the workers.
- The ‘Golden Age of Labour’ has gone, to be replaced by a nasty divide between those whose skills ‘complement the computer’ and those that don’t. Wages for men have fallen 28% in the last 40 years.
- In 2014 the global economy’s top five companies’ gross cash holdings (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Verizon and Samsung) came to $387 billion, the equivalent of the 2013 GDP of the United Arab Emirates.
- Trust is very much absent. Only 5% of people trust Facebook with their personal data (35% trust the Inland Revenue).
- Facebook makes over 30% of its users feel lonelier, angrier or more frustrated.
- Rochester, once the home of the now-defunct Kodak, has a Broken Center and is now pretty much a ghost town. Similarly, the new economy resembles a donut, with a gaping hole in the middle where millions of workers were once paid to produce products.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- The Web’s architecture is made up of three elements:
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – computer language for marking up hypertext files.
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) – a taxonomy for travelling between them.
- Universal Resource Locator (URL) –a special address code linked to each file that can call up any other file
- By 2012 there were more than 3 billion email accounts in the world sending 294 billion emails, of which 78% were spam.
- The loose collective running Wikipedia is estimated to be 90% white western males with a slight personality defect. This is an example of the Internet generating small gangs who talk to themselves, which is the opposite of democracy.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- This is a polemic – well-researched, but angry overall.