Digitalization is the buzzword of the decade. Some link the disruptive potential of digital innovations to hopes for new sources of unlimited growth. Others fear massive job losses and a dramatic increase in social inequality.
Philipp Staab analyzes the leading digital economy companies and their international business model. Beginning with an outline of the history of Google, Apple, Amazon, and other top players, he then elucidates the ideology of digital capitalism and contrasts this with the economic imperatives of the digital economy. The strategies pursued by these corporations target a critical fault line in today’s economic system. Since the end of Fordism, the development of consumption in highly developed OECD countries cannot keep pace with the increases in productivity. Digital capitalism aims to counter the systematic weakness in contemporary consumer demand, as a characteristic of contemporary capitalist economies, by rationalizing consumption.
In the process, however, contradictions are generated that exacerbate the problem that this strategy was designed to solve. The consumption dilemma of today’s digital capitalism could effectively transform the growth potential of digitalization into a reverse trend. The hopes raised by digital capitalism might soon prove to be false promises.