The privatisation of public services is a long-standing global trend. But in the wake of the pandemic and through the introduction of contact tracing apps, Big Tech has gone one step further: Large corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are now set to control the very infrastructure that underlies our public health system. In this eye-opening discussion, Arun Kundnani interviews Dr Seda Gürses about the dangers of a system in which we depend on profit-oriented companies for receiving basic health services. How did we get to this point, and how can we imagine a different future?
The Transnational Institute (TNI) is issuing an open call for essays, accessible papers, infographics and artistic collaborations on the theme of 'digital power' for its eleventh State of Power report to be launched in January 2023. (Deadline for pitch/proposal extended: 13 June 2022)
Financial technology, or ‘fintech’, is a widely celebrated recent innovation. However, in this paper we explore how its seductive narrative is a fundamentally flawed and inaccurate portrayal of the emerging reality. While it is clear that fintech offers a major opportunity to improve the lives of the poor if done right, and it has had some important initial successes, its full long-term impact looks far less rosy.
In recent years, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have started to include rules for the digital economy as a result of pressure from Big Tech. These trade measures are potentially damaging to a country’s possibilities of digital industrialisation, permanently locking in advantages for the richest nations. This summary analyses the most important points being negotiated by Indonesia with the European Union and RCEP.
The global battle for control of the digital economy is typically portrayed as one fought by only two titans: US and China, but that does not mean that the EU has been standing still. As this briefing documents, the EU has been making strong efforts to catch up using trade negotiations and trade rules to assert its own interests. In the process, the EU is trying to climb up on the backs of the developing countries, undermining the chance for all to equitably share in the benefits of technological development.
Retail companies are forcing workers to follow orders dictated by digital devices and corporate algorithms. To regain autonomy, creativity, and agency in the workplace we need to start politicising the use of digital technologies.
Over the past decades, transnational “Big Tech” corporations based in the United States have amassed trillions of dollars and gained excessive powers to control everything, from business and labor to social media and entertainment. Digital colonialism is now engulfing the world.
The Corporation is on the cusp of achieving ‘quantum supremacy’ as a result of its massive accumulation of data powered by algorithmic-based intelligence. Social movements need to grasp this change quickly.
Every city seems now to be looking for its 'Silicon Valley'. But what's the reality for cities that embrace Big Tech? Exploring two-case studies in Dublin, Ireland and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo in Canada, this essay explores how urban space and public policy is transformed by digital corporations and how the allure far exceeds the concrete benefits.
Distributed Cooperative Organizations (DisCOs) are a P2P/Commons, cooperative and Feminist Economic alternative to Decentralised Autonomous Organizations (or DAOs).
DisCOs bring together the worlds of the Commons and P2P, Open and Platform Cooperativism, Distributed Ledger/Blockchain tech, and Feminist Economics together in a fresh, radical framework fit for addressing the challenges of our times.
The international bank transfer system, SWIFT, is a form of contemporary digital colonialism and surveillance capitalism as it is run by US firms and provides data to US government agencies. Drives by governments and philanthropists to increase use of digital money will only strengthen it further.
A slow-moving phenomenon is unfolding all over the world. It will have serious consequences, but very few people are consciously aware of it, perhaps because it involves something seemingly banal and benign: the spread of digital payments. This phenomenon is not only occurring in the major cities of economically advanced nations, but also in poorer countries, often promoted via the ‘financial inclusion’ programmes of international development organisations in partnership with major financial institutions.
Mayo Fuster Morell, responsible for BarCola, a group working on collaborative economy policies in Barcelona, shares her thoughts and experiences on how commons-based forms of collaboration can build a more just society.
Corporations don't just shape our politics or economics, they also seek to change public opinion to serve their interests. Which corporations play the biggest role in shaping knowledge and news? What do they fund? Who do they represent? What role have they played in the rise of authoritarian populists? This infographic for State of Power 2017 exposes those 'manufacturing consent'.
Experiences and experiments in Spain, Brazil, Istanbul and other cities suggest that a transnational municipalism, based on concepts of an open source city (free online tools and active citizen participation), has the potential to regenerate democracy and build a geopolitics of the commons against neoliberalism.
In the wake of early 2010s upheavals such as the Arab Spring, Spain’s indignados, or the global Occupy movement, many commentators were quick to either invoke the presumed tech-savvy of ‘digital natives’ or the purported ‘cyber-utopianism’ of net freedom advocates who supported the protests. But what role have internet freedom activists – or ‘freedom technologists’ – played in ongoing struggles for progressive political change around the world and how can the pursuit of liberty be combined with the struggle for social justice?
New forms of social mobilisation by networked movements have created a new "social atmosphere" that is already having an irreversible impact on other more traditional social and political actors and their practices.