The Rise of the Platform Economy: Utopia or Dystopia?
Buzz words like industry 4.0 or digital capitalism have become popular to allude to new technologies and challenges to prevailing production systems. While the internet is central to the digital revolution, the links between the internet and changes in the organization of production and service economies are still not very clear. This talk will focus on the rise of platform models in a range of industries and services to raise a number of important questions: Will the platform economy – and and the reorganization of markets, enterprises, and social organization it portends – catalyze economic growth and a surge in productivity driven by a new generation of entrepreneurs? Or will the reorganization concentrate gains in the hands of those who generate the platforms, and possibly stifle future entrepreneurs? Will it spark a wave of entrepreneurial possibilities, or an avalanche of dispossessed workers trying to make their way with gigs and temporary contracts? Will platform economies substantially change the existing varieties of capitalism, or will they be subject to modifications and alternative evolutions? Ultimately, what do we need to know and understand to shape this future?
John Zysman is Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Berkeley Roundtable International Economy. He received his B.A at Harvard and his Ph.D. at MIT. He has written extensively on European and Japanese policy and corporate strategy. He is the author and editor of numerous books including “The Third Globalization: Will Wealthy Countries Stay Rich in a Changing Global Economy” (Oxford 2013, with Dan Breznitz), “Can Green Sustain Growth: From the Religion to the Reality of Sustainable Prosperity” (Stanford 2014, with Mark Huberty) and “Governments, Markets, and Growth: Financial Systems and the Politics of Industrial Change” (Cornell 1983). His 2014 BRIE Paper “The Implications of Cloud Computing for Integrated Research and Innovation Strategy“ (with KE Kushida, J Murray, P Scaglia) discusses the implications of U.S. competition for independent European industrial strategies.
This event is part of the WZB lecture series "Great Crisis of Capitalism - A Second Great Transformation?"