My critical review of Shoshana Zuboff’s 2019 book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power is now out in the latest NLR.
Most fundamentally, this is a book torn between a Polanyian critique of the marketisation of the new realm of surveillance data and a business school celebration of the market as the basis of democracy and freedom.
Zuboff in some ways comes close to a full-blooded leftist—even Marxisant—attack on Facebook, Google et al. Yet her attempts to reconcile this with her prior pontifications on business history have led to awkward, unresolved tensions in the project.
There are also reasons to doubt her central concept of the “behavioural surplus”.
More in the review...