For decades society venerated advanced information and communications technologies (ICTs) as a source of economic rejuvenation and uplift. The financial crisis of 2007-08 shook such ideas. Originating in the United States, the driver of digital systems and services, the prolonged economic slump precipitated a perplexing historical outcome: a technological revolution wrapped inside an economic collapse. Dan Schiller analyzes the crisis tendencies of capitalism to root out the sources of this digital depression. From there he traces the economic re-composition wrought by ICTs, seeing them as a leading economic growth pole akin to the 1930s consumer industries that came out of the Great Depression. Finally, he lays out the present-day battles to capture and control digital technology and its growth. Demonstrating digital technology's central role in the global political economy and connecting it to the rise of worldwide financial, production and military networks, Schiller sets the digital communication industry in the context of intensifying geopolitical conflicts over the Internet. As he shows, the forces at the core of capitalism--exploitation, commodification, and inequality--are ongoing and accelerating within the networked political economy. Timely and wide ranging, Digital Depression blazes new ground in illuminating the role of information and communications within the political economy's developmental processes.
Subjects: Technology, Economics, Business