Arts and Culture

Yanis Varoufakis opens the Manchester Literature Festival: “There is one party, with two variants”

Economist and politician Yanis Varoufakis introduced his new book in a preview for the Manchester Literature Festival, claiming that “Capitalism is over”.

The former Greek minister of finance was showcasing his new book Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism at the festival.

In this book, Varoufakis argues that capitalism has come to an end, and it has been replaced with something worse.

The 62-year-old claims: “There is a new form of capitalism – same way that a virus mutates, so does capitalism.

“Making its own worse mutant.”

According to him, the invention of AI and Amazon’s marketing are the grounds on which capitalism is changing.

He compares Amazon chief Jeff Bezos to an 18th-century Lord, who has leased Amazon to peasants, but in return takes 60% of the work done by the peasants.

As such, he believes that humanity is returning back to feudalism, with only a few people controlling all the markets and lands.

He calls this: “Technofeudalism”

Varoufakis added: “I am not scared by how much they [the capitalists] own, but by how they’re going to use what they own about us.”

He argues companies like Amazon and Google are using individuals as ‘free labour’ to give customers the service they want – adding that this breaks the rules of what capitalism initially stood for and believed in.

Politicians and the systems of democracy are the only way in which such rampant growth can be stopped, says the Greek politician.

He adds that politicians find themselves at the behest of modern capitalism, and hence are unlikely to bring about much change.

He said: “In the UK there is one party, with two variants” – arguing that a change in government will not bring about an end to technofeudalism.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, he added, would “roll over for the capitalist”.

Varoufakis’ book was one of the preview shows for Manchester Literature Festival.

The festival will continue till the end of November, holding talks with people such as Zadie Smith, Lisa Nandy MP and Sandra Newman.

More on the festival and tickets for talks can be found here.

Featured image by Marc Lozano via Flickr

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