Author Brian Merchant suggests that Luddites pose a greater threat to the wealthy than Robin Hood.

Brian Merchant, a journalist and author, has written a book called Blood in the Machine that explores the Luddite revolt in 19th century England and its parallels with current technologies. In his research, he discovered that the Luddite movement was not a movement against technology itself, but rather a labor struggle by workers who were being displaced by new technologies.

Merchant began his research a decade ago when he noticed the resurgence of the term “Luddite” amidst the growth of Uber and its impact on taxi drivers. He learned that the Luddites used collective bargaining through riots as their tactic, which is still seen today in some modern labor issues.

The book highlights Ned Ludd, a legendary figure who may or may not have existed, as a symbol of the Luddite movement. Merchant draws parallels between the Luddites’ struggle and modern labor issues in Silicon Valley, where there is also a need for democratic oversight in technological development.

Merchant criticizes the undemocratic nature of technological development where big corporations dominate new technologies with access to capital. He argues that this pattern has been consistent for 200 years and has led to social instability. The book discusses potential future unrest or backlash against big tech companies as well as recent events like the destruction of Waymo self-driving cars indicating growing anger towards these companies.

The author also notes that while new jobs may be created by technology, vulnerable jobs are eroded over time leading to social and economic challenges. He views discussions around universal basic income as a superficial solution to this larger structural problem. Instead, he suggests pushing back against abusive uses of technology through collective action citing recent strikes and negotiations by Hollywood screenwriters as an example.

Overall, Blood in the Machine delves into the history of the Luddites and their struggle against technology while drawing parallels with modern challenges in the tech industry. The book raises important questions about how we can ensure that technological advancements benefit society without causing harm or disruption to those most affected by them.

By Aiden Johnson

As a content writer at, I have a passion for crafting engaging and informative articles that captivate readers. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, I strive to deliver content that not only informs but also entertains. My goal is to create compelling narratives that resonate with our audience and keep them coming back for more. Whether I'm delving into the latest news topics or exploring in-depth features, I am dedicated to producing high-quality content that informs, inspires, and sparks curiosity.

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