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Denaturalising digital capitalism

One of the most pressing issues we confront when analysing the digital economy is a pronounced tendency towards oligopoly which makes a lie of an earlier generation’s utopian embrace of the Internet as a sphere of free competition and a driver of disintermediation. There are important lessons we can learn […]

The Sociology of Platforms

Reluctantly cut from my digital sociology paper Indeed, as Srnicek (2016) argues, this dynamics is integral to the nature of the platform itself, as a business model premised upon maximising opportunities for data extraction through situating itself as an intermediary between the interactions of existing actors. Each platform has an […]

Notes on Platform Capitalism

In Platform Capitalism, Nick Srnicek seeks to address what he sees as a profound oversight in the existing literature on digital capitalism. One set of contributions focuses on emerging technologies and their implications for privacy and surveillance but ignores the economic analysis of ownership and profitability. Another set critically analyses the […]

Digital capitalism and concentration of ownership

There’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the threat index funds are increasingly seen to pose to the global economy. I’d like to understand this more than I do because I’m intrigued by the technological preconditions for this form of investing and the competitive advantage this use of technology offers: […]

The foundational lie of digital capitalism

From Alan Jacobs (Via Audrey Watters): The megatech companies’ ability to convince us that they are not Big Business but rather just open-minded, open-hearted, exploratory technological creators is perhaps the most powerful and influential — and radically misleading — sales jobs of the past 25 years. The Californian ideology has […]

Why Digitalization is Prior to Financialization

From Rise of the Robots, by Martin Ford, loc 1053-1069: Virtually all of the financial innovations that have arisen in recent decades—including, for example, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and exotic financial derivatives—would not have been possible without access to powerful computers. Likewise, automated trading algorithms are now responsible for nearly […]

the coding skills bubble

As we enter the second machine age, it’s easy to assume that coding skills will be in ever increasing demand. But this TechCrunch feature suggests both that the skills shortage will likely prove fleeting, due to the impending automation of much coding, as well as that bullshit abounds in schemes […]

the disruption of finance 

From The Big Short by Michael Lewis, pg 172. This is a part of the story of the financial crisis which has received too little attention: ‘innovations’ in finance were driven by the ‘disruption’ the established figures in the industry were subject to as a result of new online competitors: […]