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Digital Degrowth

Digital Degrowth

Technology in the Age of Survival

by Michael Kwet

A new framework for the digital society that merges the science of degrowth with a global analysis of the high-tech economy

'A must-read for anyone who wants to know the brutal truth of digital colonialism driven by the American empire' Kohei Saito, author of Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto

The world is racing toward an irreversible ecological catastrophe. Environmental science makes clear that humans must reduce total material resource use, requiring a radical redistribution of wealth within and between countries. Yet little attention has been paid to how the digital economy fits into this equation.

Michael Kwet, a leading expert on digital colonialism, presents a new paradigm for the digital society. Merging the science of degrowth with a global analysis of the high-tech economy, he argues that digital capitalism and colonialism must be abolished quickly. In Digital Degrowth, Kwet maps out a path to a people's tech future. He calls for direct action against Silicon Valley, US imperialism and power elites everywhere in order to realize a radically egalitarian digital society that fosters equality in harmony with nature.

Michael Kwet is Postdoctoral researcher of the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg and a Visiting Fellow at the Yale Law School. His research focuses on digital colonialism, social media, surveillance, and the environment. Michael hosts the Tech Empire podcast and has been published at Al Jazeera, The New York Times, VICE News, The Intercept, Truthdig and Mail & Guardian. He is the founder of the website,

'This book is a must read for anyone who wants to know the brutal truth of digital colonialism driven by the American Empire. Don't get deceived by the American tech "left" who is actually funded by billionaires. The true left vision of the future is digital degrowth.'

- Kohei Saito, author of Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto

'Digital Degrowth addresses new challenges emerging from the digitalisation of every sector of our lives, impacting our sovereignty and democracy. A vital book for anyone concerned about justice and equality, and about the limitless extraction of the earth's resources to support the technologies of limitless greed and limitless growth.'

- Vandana Shiva, environmental activist

'Digital Degrowth pulls back the curtain to reveal the starkly naked machinery of imperial wizards and corporations that lack care and compassion. Our collective battles for "ecosocialist degrowth" will reflect war resistance that protects our contaminated lives and challenges corporate extraction preying upon biological, mineral, and spiritual life. This text is a must read manual for upgrading your security zones.'

- Joy James, author of New Bones Abolition and editor Beyond Cop Cities: Dismantling State and Corporate-Funded Armies and Prisons

'Synthetic and encyclopedic, Michael Kwet surveys the landscape of US monopoly power in the global technology sector, traces the capillaries containing the capital and cobalt flowing from core to periphery, periphery to core, required to fuel that power and the way of life it accompanies, and delivers a map to ending it. A must read.'

- Max Ajl, author of A People’s Green New Deal

'As resistance movements around the world evolve, the question of 'resistance against what and who' has gained renewed importance. This book forces us to look at America's tech empire critically to inform a new wave of resistance led by today's youth. Digital Degrowth explains the problems clearly and provides solutions that directly impact the climate change debate. It's a must-read and call to action for activists and activist communities in all sectors of society.'

- Itumeleng Moabi, Fees Must Fall activist and resistance movement archivist

'All too often scholarship identifies crises without offering resolutions. In Digital Degrowth, Kwet provides compelling solutions for organized transformation essential for a just and sustainable digital economy. A masterful scholarly contribution on the digital economy and the ecological collapse that humanity confronts in the years to come.'

- Immanuel Ness, Professor of Political Science, City University of New York

'Lucidly written and easy to read, Kwet provides the most important big picture analysis of the digital society to date. We need to shift our understanding and relationship with digital technologies given the challenges we have facing us away from docile consumerism towards empowering people to take an active role in its development and use. Essential reading for the general public and activists alike.'

- Joshua Dávila, author of Blockchain Radicals: How Capitalism Ruined Crypto and How to Fix It

'Kwet’s critically important book forces us to confront the morbid symptoms characterising our contemporary conjuncture by outlining the stupidity of accelerating towards extinction unless we smarten up and confront the technophilic elite and reclaim science and technology for the people.'

- Rasigan Maharajh, Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology

'Digital Degrowth takes an in-depth look at the unsustainable and unethical practice of digital colonialism perpetuated by big-tech and the Western economies of the Global South. Through meticulous research, Kwet tackles an important, and hitherto ignored, topic, namely the role of big-tech in climate change.'

- Ramesh Subramanian, Gabriel Ferrucci Professor of Business Analytics and Information Systems, Quinnipiac University

1. Digital Colonialism
2. What is Degrowth?
3. Digital Degrowth
4. Cloud Colonialism
5. Digital Ecocide
6. The Big Tech Military Machine
7. Surveil and Punish
8. People’s Tech and a Digital Tech Deal
9. Taking Action

Published by Pluto Press in Aug 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9780745349862
eBook ISBN: 9780745349879

156mm x 234mm