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Technology and Economic Power

Technology and Economic Power Philos. Technol. (2014) 27:279–283 DOI 10.1007/s13347-013-0148-1 COMMENTARY Pierre Hessler Received: 19 December 2013 /Accepted: 30 December 2013 /Published online: 18 January 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014 1 Introduction Large corporations—from Apple to Volkswagen—are powerful; whereas their cus- tomers are much less powerful. But many observers believe that information and communication technologies are giving consumers weapons to level the playing field. Is this really true? 2 From Theory to the Reality of Economic Power Technology and economic power share one characteristic: economic theory has long ignored them. Starting with the industrial revolution, technology has been the first driver of economic growth. But it is only a couple of centuries later that economic theory gave it the place it deserves—as an engine of economic cycles. In classical economic theory, economic power did not exist. Market mechanisms excluded it—many suppliers sell to many buyers without any mutual influence and without any say on price. The only exception was monopolies, and their power was evil. The emergence of the modern corporation, the multiplication of oligopolies, and the Depression were all needed to slowly demonstrate that markets as defined by classical theory are the exception, not the rule. The rule is that economic http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy & Technology Springer Journals

Technology and Economic Power

Philosophy & Technology , Volume 27 (2) – Jan 18, 2014

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Technology
ISSN
2210-5433
eISSN
2210-5441
DOI
10.1007/s13347-013-0148-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Philos. Technol. (2014) 27:279–283 DOI 10.1007/s13347-013-0148-1 COMMENTARY Pierre Hessler Received: 19 December 2013 /Accepted: 30 December 2013 /Published online: 18 January 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014 1 Introduction Large corporations—from Apple to Volkswagen—are powerful; whereas their cus- tomers are much less powerful. But many observers believe that information and communication technologies are giving consumers weapons to level the playing field. Is this really true? 2 From Theory to the Reality of Economic Power Technology and economic power share one characteristic: economic theory has long ignored them. Starting with the industrial revolution, technology has been the first driver of economic growth. But it is only a couple of centuries later that economic theory gave it the place it deserves—as an engine of economic cycles. In classical economic theory, economic power did not exist. Market mechanisms excluded it—many suppliers sell to many buyers without any mutual influence and without any say on price. The only exception was monopolies, and their power was evil. The emergence of the modern corporation, the multiplication of oligopolies, and the Depression were all needed to slowly demonstrate that markets as defined by classical theory are the exception, not the rule. The rule is that economic

Journal

Philosophy & TechnologySpringer Journals

Published: Jan 18, 2014

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