Yanis Varoufakis’s “Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism?”

Socialism or barbarism.

Cory Doctorow
7 min readSep 28, 2023


The Penguin UK cover for Yanis Varoufakis’s ‘Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism?’

Monday (October 2), I’ll be in Boise to host an event with VE Schwab. October 7–8, I’m in Milan to keynote Wired Nextfest.

Socialists have been hotly anticipating the end of capitalism since at least 1848, when Marx and Engels published The Communist Manifesto — but the Manifesto also reminds us that capitalism is only too happy to reinvent itself during its crises, coming back in new forms, over and over again:


Now, in Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism, Yanis Varoufakis — the “libertarian Marxist” former finance minister of Greece — makes an excellent case that capitalism died a decade ago, turning into a new form of feudalism: technofeudalism:


To understand where Varoufakis is coming from, you need to go beyond the colloquial meanings of “capitalism” and “feudalism.” Capitalism isn’t just “a system where we buy and sell things.” It’s a system where capital rules the roost: the richest, most powerful people are those who coerce workers into using their capital (factories, tools, vehicles, etc)…