Blockchain Chicken Farm

And Other Stories of Tech in China's Countryside

256 pages

English language

Published July 10, 2020 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.


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4 stars (9 reviews)

Note about the author: The author is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns in English.

"A brilliant and empathetic guide to the far corners of global capitalism." --Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothing

From FSGO x Logic: stories about rural China, food, and tech that reveal new truths about the globalized world

In Blockchain Chicken Farm, the technologist and writer Xiaowei Wang explores the political and social entanglements of technology in rural China. Their discoveries force them to challenge the standard idea that rural culture and people are backward, conservative, and intolerant. Instead, they find that rural China has not only adapted to rapid globalization but has actually innovated the technology we all use today.

From pork farmers using AI to produce the perfect pig, to disruptive luxury counterfeits and the political intersections of e-commerce villages, Wang unravels the ties between globalization, technology, agriculture, and commerce in unprecedented fashion. …

2 editions

A dose against techno-optimism.

5 stars

First and foremost, this book is beautifully written. Xiaowei Wang's style of writing is probably one of the most comforting aspects about their work, especially considering the topic at hand. It also kind of helps embody the difficulty of the subject, highlighting the nuances rather than the binary discussion that often happens (tech good vs. tech bad).

But it also helps put a lot into perspective. Part of this is through showing how China and the US aren't all that different with regards to capitalism (despite what we may be led to believe), even though it may present in different forms. Part of it is through explaining so much about technology that both feels absurd and showing how it's manufacturing spaces. And more than that, they explain how the systems in the US and in China converge and impact each other.

It's hard to put a lot of it into …

Great book!

4 stars

Really enjoyed reading this. It's a nice overview of how rural development in China relates to tech. Food for thought for both tech optimists and pessimists. The author is very careful with what they say and the writing is very good, creating a text that is at the same time literary and sociological. It combine literary elements with social theory and data in such a way that the reading flows pleasantly. It's not a dense theory book or a shallow tEcH cRiTiCiSm book either: it is balanced and thoughtful. When I found this book I was afraid it'd be like OH GOD STOP THE COMMUNISTS and I couldn't be more wrong. Absolutely read this if you're into social/political theory and China.

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