Lords of the Platform: Rentier Capitalism and the Platform Economy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter explores the intersections between digital platforms as a powerful means of extracting rent and digital platforms as a powerful means of controlling labor. Setting aside any sectarian squabbles about labels, the core conclusions remain much the same: these lords of the platform – the proprietors of servant apps – base their profits on rent extraction and their power on digital enclosure. Being products and producers of data – playing their part in these technical systems and social relations – are important ways workers pay rent to the platform. Platforms pitch their services as a way of turning idle resources into maximally productive assets, thus unlocking their late value. We can see the outcomes of this stark reality in the gig economy: in the creation of servant apps, in the operations of rentier capitalism, and in the relations between consumers and workers and platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlatform Labour and Global Logistics
Subtitle of host publicationA Research Companion
EditorsImmanuel Ness
Place of PublicationAbingdon OX UK
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781000822977, 9781003351764
ISBN (Print)9781032398716, 9781032398709
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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