In the financial services industry, Brett King is best known as the author of the groundbreaking book Bank 2.0, creator of the Breaking Banks podcast, and founder and former CEO of challenger bank Moven.

In a new book, The Rise of Technosocialism, King (co-authored by Richard Petty) expands his perspective to envision how technology will change – and radically improve – society as a whole.

However, the authors try to clarify the use of the word “socialism” in the title of their book. According to the king:

“Technosocialism is not a political movement, but a social result. It restores long-term economic growth within a framework that does not harm the economy but enables great government capacity – with heavy investments in technology infrastructure that improves government productivity – and removes the funding and budgetary caveats that government programs typically face are.”

King sees four possible outcomes for the planet in the foreseeable future, depending on whether we have a planned or chaotic future and whether or not society is inclusive and collective or exclusive and divided.

However, there are some problems here:

  • The political / social divide is artificial. The claim that technosocialism is not a political result but a social result is untenable. Everything is politics today. Take, for example, the CEO of the cryptocurrency company who tried to ban political messages on the company’s message board. Opinions on how to deal with the pandemics also largely fall in political directions.
  • The results are not all or nothing. When we posit four potential outcomes for the planet, we are overlooking the reality that we can – and do have had – all four results coexist to some extent. China is a good example: highly automated (a feature of the Technosocialism quadrant) but general autocratic rule (a feature of the Failedistan quadrant).
  • The label does not guarantee the result. The description of a desired state – ie equality, prosperity and technological omnipresence – as the foregoing result of technosocialism is unfounded. How many “planned economies” have prospered and prospered? None. And with differing opinions about where we should go and how to get there, it seems likely that it will be always be part of the population who feel left out and believe that society is divided. You can’t simply wish that away with technology.