March 16, 2015
Participants at the tech conference TechCrunch Disrupt 2014 in San Francisco, California. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Keen is critical of how the Internet has created a Silicon Valley elite. (Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
Andrew Keen works in Silicon Valley and founded a couple of start-ups, but he’s not sold on the Internet.
In his latest book “The Internet Is Not The Answer,” Keen makes the case that the Internet as it exists now hurts the middle class.
“The economics of the Internet lend themselves of a winner-take all economy,” Keen tells Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson, “The hollowing out of the middle class, the emergence of a tiny plutocratic elite of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and technologists.”
Interview Highlights: Andrew Keen On why the Internet isn’t the answer
“The Internet isn’t the answer because it compounds three of the fundamental problems of early 21st century life: inequality, unemployment, and the emergence of a surveillance culture, a surveillance economy.”
“I don’t buy this leveling of the playing field argument. You could go out and buy a lottery ticket and everyone has that opportunity. In that sense, there’s a level playing field, but the reality [is that] out of every million people who buy a lottery ticket, only one will be the winner, and that’s the same with a digital economy.
"It’s a winner take all economy in which a tiny group of companies are dominant. It’s doing away with much of the competition of the industrial age, hollowing out the middle. So, I don’t buy this idea that it’s flattening things out. If anything, this world is much rockier, much more mountainous that the old 20th century industrial world.”