What policies do we need to break market power in the platform economy? How can we ensure that our digital futures are centered around the common good, and not profit? And what could post-capitalism in the information age look like?
Shopping at Amazon or instant messaging via Twitter - digital platforms shape our societies. Not only since the Corona pandemic - but surely encouraged by it - we can witness the concentration of capital, data, and therewith power in the hand of few platform corporations. This dominance of ‘big tech’ in the information age is problematic: on one hand, it creates quasi-monopolies which stifle true innovation and limit consumer choice. The result: non-commercial alternatives (among them FabCities/Maker Spaces and Free & Open Source communities such as OpenStreetMap) largely remain trapped in the niche. On the other hand, these corporations create new dependencies between platforms and users, turn citizens into mere consumers and wield great political influence – without a shred of democratic legitimacy. This is not how we envisioned the socio-ecological transformation in the digital economy. What to do then? With the Digital Markets Act, the EU has made a first attempt to impose obligations on the most powerful "gatekeeper" platforms. The stated aim: to enable fairer competition. But whether competition policy can fundamentally alter the power structures in the platform economy remains to be seen however. This is why we want to discuss: What policies do we need to break market power? How can we ensure that our digital futures are centered around the common good, and not profit? And what could post-capitalism in the information age look like?