This book tells the story of how the accumulation strategy of the most powerful global corporations of the XXI century is based on intellectual rentiership and predation. Some have even monopolized the rawest knowledge source, data. They have curtailed access to part of what used to be public knowledge, monetizing it for their (and their shareholders) benefit, and at the expense of social welfare and economic growth. These powerful intellectual monopolies plan portions of capitalism, organizing and leading multiple global innovation networks by outsourcing research and development. Their power goes beyond the market power to set prices as it extends to the production process, to science and technology spheres, and beyond national borders.
This chapter introduces the multiple dimensions and implications of intellectual monopoly capitalism and presents the book. The book’s first part conceptualizes intellectual monopoly capitalism, its effects on the knowledge commons, core states (the US and China), and research universities. The second part scrutinizes selected intellectual monopolies from the US (Apple, Amazon, and Pfizer), China (State Grid Corporation of China), and Europe (Novartis and Roche). It wraps up with reflections on profit, rents, predation, and the consequences for workers. Finally, the book delves into the effects of intellectual monopoly capitalism on the peripheries.