CONVOCO! Lecture 03/2018: Capitalism in the Age of Digitalization

CONVOCO! Lecture 03/2018:
Capitalism in the Age of Digitalization

The Convoco Lecture Capitalism in the Age of Digitalization was the first event within the frame of this year’s topic The Multiple Futures of Capitalism. It took place on March 15, 2018 at the ESMT Berlin.

Dr. Corinne Michaela Flick held an introductory speech and first demonstrated in what ways the world had changed to the positive within the last decades. This was partly thanks to the success of capitalism. However, CMF reminded the audience that capitalism had to evolve in order to stay successful in the future. Here, she particularly underlined the progress of digitalization, which entailed considerable changes to the modern market economy. CMF asked essential questions such as how challenges that came up with technological development could influence the labour market. She also noted that wealth was centralizing through the concentration of data and power. Following that consideration, CMF asked whether the middle class simply existed or whether we would actively have to do something for it to be sustained. CMF concluded her introduction with the central question on how capitalism had to change in the age of digitalization in order for more people to be included.

Lectures and conversations in the videos below are interpreted into English. For the German originals, please visit:

Following the introduction, Prof. Clemens Fuest from the ifo Institute held a short lecture. Through several examples, he showed what kind of challenges the modern market economy had to face due to digitalization. He noted, however, that similar challenges already existed in the past. As examples, CF mentioned growing international mobility and a diminished need of physical presence. In order to cope with such challenges, economic policy had to take targeted action without hindering innovative business models. Nevertheless, politics should not leave problem solving strategies that were successful in the past out of the account. Despite of the many changes due to technological development, CF emphasized that economic policy should not completely reinvent itself.

Prof. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger from the Oxford Internet Institute held the second lecture. He pointed out in what ways the data economy was changing the market. In the future, it would not be the price alone any longer that summarized the information of the commodity, but many other criteria along the price would determine the transaction. He mentioned BlaBlaCar as an example. In this business concept, people could choose the lift according to the will of the driver to communicate during the trip. This was possible thanks to algorithms that could process the information. VMS underlined that the data economy would render our world more personal, more efficient and especially more collective.

Before the lecture, Convoco sent out four questions on the topic Capitalism in the Age of Digitalization to the whole Convoco Community. Here you can see the results:




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