European Parliament Library

Internet oligopoly, the corporate takeover of our world, Nikos Smyrnaios (Université de Toulouse, France)

Over the last decade, the digital technologies in everyday life have multiplied. Our lives have been gradually taken over by digital devices, networks, and services. Although useful, they have also become invasive additions to our personal, professional and public lives. This process has occurred in a globalized and deregulated economy and a few US-based start-ups transformed into an oligopoly of multinationals that today govern the informational infrastructure of our societies. This book offers an analytical framework of the contemporary internet studied through the lens of history and political economy. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are examined as emblematic products of a new capitalist order that is resolutely opposed to the original project of the internet. The author retraces the process of commodification that resulted in financial rationales taking over from collective and individual emancipation and uncovers how this internet oligopoly uses its exorbitant market power to eliminate competition; take advantage of global financialization to exploit human labour on a global scale and to avoid taxation; and how it implements strategies to control our communication methods for accessing information and content online, thus increasingly controlling the digital public sphere. The book reveals how the reshaping of society via private company business models impact on the place of work in future societies, social and economic inequalities, and, ultimately, democracy.
Table Of Contents
Introduction. The internet as a political issue ; The necessary critique of the digital political economy -- 1. The commodification of the internet. The legacy of ARPA ; The information society and the post-industrial economy ; The deregulation of Telecom and the neoliberal turn ; From counterculture to the commodification of cyberculture -- 2. The privatisation of the internet. Information highways leading to internet privatisation ; Internet start-up culture meets venture capital ; The 'irrational exuberance' of the new economy and of convergence -- 3. The conditions leading to the emergence of the internet oligopoly. The internet's effect on the information economy ; Financialisation and deregulation benefitting an oligopoly ; Globalised companies and strategies ; Exploiting labour: a pillar of the oligopoly's profitability -- 4. The oligopoly's strategies for integration and infomediation. Infomediation: a key function of the internet ; The vertical integration of the oligopoly ; The horizontal concentration of the internet -- 5. The advertising dominance of the internet. The critique of advertising ; Advertising on the internet ; Collecting and using users' data ; Resisting and regulating online advertising (or lack thereof) -- Conclusion
Literary Form
non fiction
Includes index
Physical Description
1 online resource (191 pages).
Specific Material Designation
Form Of Item

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