🌟 B&B Panel: Towards Post-Capitalism in the Information Age (EN)
10-02, 17:00–18:30 (Europe/Berlin), ADA
Language: English

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?

Jonas Pentzien fragt im Rahmen seiner Tätigkeit als wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung (IÖW) danach, wie sozial-ökologische Alternativen in der Plattformökonomie aufgebaut und skaliert werden können.

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Ela Kagel is digital strategist and managing director of SUPERMARKT Berlin, a platform for digital culture and alternative economy in Berlin. Since 2019, she also serves on the board of Platform Cooperatives Germany eG, a cooperative that supports decentralized, cooperatively-structured companies with a digital business model, especially in the start-up phase. Just this year, in 2022, Ela has started the GameChanger project together with SUPERMARKT and the Curatorial Collective for Public Art (CCPA), which deals with the changed framework conditions of cultural institutions in a networked world. At the center of Ela's work is the effort to promote a cooperative, digital economy - as an alternative to the monopolies of the platform economy.

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Max Bank is a campaigner at the Cologne-based LobbyControl Initiative, which aims to educate the public about lobbying and power structures in Germany and the EU. Just like LobbyControl, Max is committed to the notions of transparency, democratic control and aims at creating clear barriers to influencing politics and the public. Over the past years, Max has addressed these issues through different lenses. In his role as a researcher, he has finished a PhD in economics on the topic of “Political consulting and economic policy in the Adenauer era” at the University of Cologne. In his role as an activist, Max volunteered in the coordination group of Attac Germany, focusing on banks and financial markets. Today, in his position at LobbyControl, Max’s primary focus is on the increasing power of big tech and how these corporations try to lobby at the European level.

Cecilia Rikap’s research focuses on the political economy of science and technology. Currently, she investigates the rising concentration of intangible assets, which she claims is behind the emergence what she calls ‘intellectual monopoly capitalism.’ In recent years, she has focused on the distribution of intellectual data (including data), resulting geopolitical tensions and the effects of knowledge assetization on the knowledge commons and development, with a particular interest in the tech and pharma industries. Cecilia holds a PhD in economics from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and currently works as a permanent Lecturer in International Political Economy (IPE) at City, University of London. She is a tenure researcher of the CONICET, Argentina’s national research council, and associate researcher at COSTECH lab, Université de Technologie de Compiègne. She has published two books on these topics: “Capitalism, Power and Innovation: Intellectual Monopoly Capitalism uncovered” (Routledge) and “The Digital Innovation Race: Conceptualizing the Emerging New World Order” (Palgrave).