Freedom as a Service
Author: Evgeny Morozov
A startling analysis of how tech solutionism is obscuring creative problem-solving toward a more equitable society.
From smart devices that help reduce one's carbon footprint to apps where one can buy themed portfolios of companies that promote vegan or LGBTQ-friendly causes, corporations appear to be producing, at light speed, solutions to our most preoccupying social problems. You, as a conscientious user, just need to buy in. Welcome to solutionism.
In Freedom as a Service, tech's most formidable critic, Evgeny Morozov, identifies a new stage of capitalism: organic capitalism, a system that is happy to admit to its own failures while unleashing more capitalist solutions to them. Under organic capitalism, “platform populism” enables a multitude of solutionist interventions while also creating the illusion that the users are in charge. And, Morozov argues, it's the left that is most susceptible to this Trojan horse, as technocratic approaches are combined with the do-good rhetoric of a more humane capitalism. But solutionism doesn’t really solve problems; it simply monetizes the behavioral change of an individual. We are actually under-producing solutions because the sort of structural solutions that are not favorable to capital never come into existence.
Trenchant, bold, and highly original, Freedom as a Service is an urgent exposé of our current political and technological order. Drawing on Marx and Hayek, Morozov cuts through the fog of solutionism's false promises, proposing a counter-paradigm: obsoletism, where instead of solving problems, we concentrate our efforts on creating a new world where such problems are made obsolete. With this groundbreaking new concept, Morozov illuminates a way forward: more tech-literate, more imaginative, and more effective at securing a just and habitable future.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux