Digital Discourses
Michael Seemann (Germany)

Five Unsettling Questions for Digital Capitalism

The spectre of digital capitalism is haunting not only Europe. And as is fitting for the times we live in, it comes in many shapes and colors: as information capitalism, data capitalism, platform capitalism, surveillance capitalism and cognitive capitalism. This leads me to the unsettling question: is this still capitalism at all?   

According to most of the definitions, capitalism is seen to meet the following five criteria: it is characterized by the antagonism of capital and labor, the fact that economy is controlled by markets, by private ownership of means of production, the dominance of ownership order, as well as the principle of accumulation. In my talk, I will investigate what happens to these criteria in the digital realm.

 Michael Seemann
Michael Seemann | © Steffi Rossdeutscher
Michael Seemann is a writer, blogger, podcaster, and lecturer living in Berlin. In 2010 he started, a blog about the theory of losing control over data in the internet. In 2015 he published Digital Tailspin—10 Rules for the Internet after Snowden in collaboration with the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam. He publishes widely, gives lectures and seminars at the University of Cologne, Leuphana University and University of Arts (UdK) in Berlin, and is cofounder of the Otherwise Network.