Crash Course Economics

The rise of Technoscientific Capitalism with Kean Birch

April 26, 2021 Kean Birch Season 3 Episode 1
Crash Course Economics
The rise of Technoscientific Capitalism with Kean Birch
Show Notes Chapter Markers
In this first Crash Course episode of our series on Big Tech, Techno-feudalism and Democracy, we take a bird’s-eye view before we dive into more specific issues in the episodes to come. To introduce you to the topic, we have invited York University professor Kean Birch, specialised in Big Tech and emerging forms of digital rentiership. 

Rodrigo and Sara ask Birch: 

  • What are the key concepts to understand the age of technoscientific capitalism? 
  • Have we seen similar socio-economic transformations and rapid technological change before, or are we on uncharted terrain? 
  • How does the rise of Big Tech relate to the financialization of capitalism and neoliberalism more generally?
Kean Birch is professor at York University, Canada who's interested in Big Tech and emerging forms of digital rentiership; obsessed with thinking about assets!

Birch is particularly interested in understanding technoscientific capitalism and draws on a range of perspectives from science & technology studies, economic geography, and economic sociology to study it. More specifically, his research focuses on the restructuring and transformation of the economy & financial knowledges, technoscience & technoscientific innovation, and the relationship between markets & natural environments.

Check out Kean Birch's writing at and


About Crash Course Economics

Crash Course is a platform designed to open up debate on how we can move out of the current crisis and make the necessary steps towards achieving social, economic, ecological and regenerative justice.

Crash Course is inviting global experts to break down complex issues in lay terms and make them accessible to all so that we can understand how to shape our economic system for a just recovery and future.


Music credit: "Capital G" by Nine Inch Nails, "Tribal Remix" by Imnotlouis (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) 

Sara Murawski introduces Crash Course
Rodrigo Fernandez tells about the previous two series and introduces this new 3rd series
Rodrigo introduces Kean Birch
Start presentation Kean Birch on ‘Technoscientific capitalism’
What is Technoscientific Capitalism
The rise of Big Tech
Understanding Big Tech
Automated neoliberalism?
Q&A: Why science and technology studies to understand contemporary capitalism?
Q&A: IPR and Rentiership as core business model of thechnoscientific capitalism
Q&A: Historical parallels
Q&A: Are other forms of Rentiership possible?
Q&A: Monopolies vs ‘competitive environment’
Q&A: What is ‘scientific’ about technoscientific capitalism?
Q&A: Amazon as an infrastructure rentier?
Q&A: How to make sense of commons in TSC
Q&A: Resistance against Big Tech, and its role in Global South
Kean’s asks Cecilia Rikap about the role of different types of Intellectual Property Rights
Wrap up by Sara