A fascinating look at how the Space Barons and Techtitans—heads of companies like Uber, Amazon, Tesla—have hijacked technology, preventing it from being used on behalf of the common good and profiting from the politics of fear and consumerism.
The respected Italian economist and journalist offers a bold and provocative argument that the speed of technological transformation is threatening our future
At the dawn of the digital revolution, the internet was going to be the great equalizer, a global democratic force. Instead, with the money printed electronically to bail out banks, Wall Street ended up funding a new breed of serial capitalists, the Techtitans, who embraced rapid, transformational change while stripping their workers of rights and enriching themselves beyond anybody’s wildest imagination; and the Space Barons, who mine new frontiers for precious resources. Then came the gig-economy, another supposed digital equalizer, where everybody was his or her own boss, but it was just another illusion.
Tech pioneers like Google, Facebook, Apple, Uber, and Microsoft never had any intention of spreading democracy. Those who control and own the technology are the absolute masters. As artificial intelligence enters the labor market, companies like Uber are able to cut labor costs to the barest of minimums, by squeezing workers’ privileges and rights.
In Technocapitalism, Napoleoni describes these phenomena as the genesis of a new paradigm, born in a period of extraordinary change in which the acceleration of transformational change has caused a dizzying, anxiety-induced paralysis from the FTX collapse to AI, private space companies to the war in Ukraine, from inflation to the dirty environmental truth of EV car batteries. Technological transformation is occurring at a speed that is existentially unbearable for most of us. We must fight for our common good to address today’s real challenges of global warming and militarism and the soulessness of capitalist endeavor. Napoleoni shows us how.
The Power of Knitting
In a fractured world plagued by anxiety and loneliness, knitting is coming to the rescue of people from all walks of life. Economist and lifelong knitter Loretta Napoleoni unveils the hidden power of the purl and stitch mantra: an essential tool for the survival of our species, a means for women to influence history, a soothing activity to calm us, and a powerful metaphor of life.
This book is a voyage through our history following the yarn of social, economic and political changes – from ancient Egypt and Peru to modern Mongolia, from the spinning bees of the American Revolution to the knitting spies of World War II, and from the hippies’ rejection of consumerism to yarnbombing protests against climate change. For the author it is also a personal journey of discovery and salvation, drawing on the wisdom her grandmother passed along as they knit together.
Revealing recent discoveries in neuroscience, The Power of Knitting offers proof of the healing powers of knitting on our bodies and minds. Breaking through societal barriers, even nursing broken hearts, and helping to advance cutting-edge science, knitting is still a valuable instrument for navigating our daily lives.
As a bonus, the book includes patterns for ten simple yet iconic projects that reflect the creative, empowering spirit of knitting, with complete instructions.
North Korea The Country We Love to Hate
In her characteristically direct approach, political analyst Loretta Napoleoni takes on the vexed story—and threat—of North Korea for those of us in the West who remain blinded by its myths and bigotry.
Like China’s Mao Zedong, Kim Il-Sung – North Korea’s leader from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1996 – washed away the humiliation caused by Japanese colonisation and re-created an ancient nation. He consolidated and protected the country with strict principles of unity and isolation. His grandson Kim Jong-un is following in the footsteps of Chinese revolutionary politics by modernising the country using the economy as the main tool of transformation.
This short, informative book is an account of a country central to world politics and yet little understood. Further, it presents insider narratives of its people, whose self-image is radically different to the image we have of them
Merchant of Men
A powerful and sophisticated underground business delivers thousands of refugees a day all along the Mediterranean coasts of Europe. The new breed of criminals that controls it has risen out of the political chaos of post-9/11 Western foreign policy and the fiasco of the Arab Spring. These merchants of men are intertwined with armed jihadist organizations such as al Qaeda in the Maghreb. They have prospered smuggling cocaine from West Africa and kidnapping Westerners. More recently, the destabiliza – tion of Syria and Iraq coupled with the rise of ISIS offered them new business opportuni – ties in the Middle East, from selling Western hostages to jihadist groups to trafficking in refugees numbering in the millions.
The Islamist Phoenix
The rise to prominence of the Islamic State (IS)—now dominating Middle Eastern politics—is explained in revealing detail by economist and bestselling author Loretta Napoleoni. The Islamist Phoenix: Islamic State and the Redrawing of the Middle East (Seven Stories Press, 11/2/14 E-book; 12/2/14 paperback original) illuminates the singularity and modernity of IS and describes its strength and its appeal in an increasingly destabilized Middle East. It is a mistake to compare IS to other jihadist groups such as the Taliban or al Qaeda, which aren’t interested in contemporary nation building, says Napoleoni. In her introduction she writes, “While the world of the Taliban was limited to Koranic schools and knowledge based upon the scripts of the Prophet, globalization and modern technology have been the cradle of the Islamic State.”* Napoleoni traces the beginnings of IS to the war on terror, its evolving relationship with al-Qaeda, and its current status as the first official Caliphate in over a century. And she details how modernity, pragmatism, and establishing strongholds in financially strategic regions—something no previous Middle East armed organization has been able to do—are the basis for IS’s enormous successes. With brilliant insight and straightforward prose, Napoleoni brings the newest form of shell-state government to light, and shows us how dangerous it would be to underestimate it.
“The IS doesn’t want to destroy. They want to build the 21st-century version of the Caliphate. And that’s what makes them so dangerous,” Napoleoni says