Big Tech abandons growth-first at last?
There is an apocryphal Chinese curse that applies to those towards whom one bears particular ill-will. Translated roughly, it goes, ‘may you live in interesting times’. Looking back at 2022 so far, it would seem like such a curse is at play. From the foreboding of global war to life-crippling supply-chain disruptions, to the most recent surges in inflation and spiraling stock market fortune; it certainly does not get more interesting, or indeed, more tragic.
Nobody seems insulated from the effects of these times. Not even the Big Tech behemoths. Elon Musk’s much-discussed takeover of Twitter seems to be in jeopardy, as he moves to cut his losses; founders and VCs are locked in battles about who is responsible for current difficulties, and the world comes to grips with yet another exposé of the ugly machinations of platforms, with the Uber Files coming to light.
This month on DataSyn, we try to make some sense of the present financial moment and ponder about its significance for the future of the digital economy. First, we examine how the recent crash in equities and speculative assets is shifting the terrain of the platform ecosystem and the ripple effects it may have going forward. We follow this up with a contemplation of what it might mean to have a digital life that wasn’t subject to data grabbing and the constant rush to enact one’s presence within the endless stream of current digital cultures.
The DataSyn Team
THE NEW DIVERGENCE
Platform Capitalism in Murky Financial Waters
Amay Korjan & Ranjitha Kumar
Anyone keeping up with the financial press would know that 2022 has been something of a reality check with respect to the seemingly never-ending exuberant highs of asset prices. Amay Korjan & Ranjitha Kumar assess this crest of the speculative wave and reflect on the potential ramifications for the platform economy and for people’s future.
THE BIG EXCESS
The Best Platforms Remain Unwritten...” Alistair Fraser on data grabs, slow computing and more
In conversation with Alistair Fraser
Contemporary political and economic struggles are inextricably linked to a contestation of ‘the commons’ in their many forms, and the battle over who is able to shape and benefit from their control. In an interview with the DataSyn Team, economic geographer Alistair Fraser reflects on the expropriatory dynamics threatening our commons, from land to data, as well as the ways we can reimagine digital life.
The Sins and Synergies Lounge
As the Crypto space continues to reel from plummeting prices and a steady exodus of investors, many are asking questions about what this all means for the future of this technology and the wider economy. Tune in to this episode of the Ones and Tooze podcast, where historian Adam Tooze unpacks these questions.
To what extent does corporate lobbying infiltrate and shape our institutional landscape? Read the ICIJ’s remarkable coverage of the recent Uber Files to find out.
As central banks scramble to put a lid on surging inflation, many are wondering what lessons can be learnt or rather NOT learnt from the last major global inflation? For the latter, we recommend Tim Barker’s incisive profile of Paul Volker, the Federal Reserve chief who overturned the 1970s inflation by crushing the working class.
Finally, we bring you a recommendation of choice from Alistair Fraser, whose interview is featured in this issue. Rodrigo Nunes’ Neither Vertical nor Horizontal on the fundamental question of change. "This is setting up to be a fascinating, albeit a dangerous, century and I think Nunez’s premise is a helpful way to get people thinking about change to try and converse with one another", Fraser observes.
Liked what you read? To have such concise and relevant analysis on all things Big Tech delivered to your inbox every month, subscribe to DataSyn!