Digital policy is not exactly home turf for the European left. Other issues like social justice and antifascism align much more naturally with its political tradition. When it comes to the digital transformation however the position of the left is less focused. Some call out the exploitation of workers who clean up the training data for large language models (branded as “artificial intelligence” by those who profit from it). Others focus on digital violence against marginalized groups or deal with the spreading of right-wing ideology via social media. All these issues are crucial. Their discussion, however, is rarely embedded into a coherent understanding of the role of data processing within the current social and economic order. These issues are at risk of being discussed as isolated symptoms without connection to their systemic causes.
How can capitalism, a system that serves the privilege of few and necessitates the misery of many, remain the unchallenged status quo for centuries? While this question certainly poses great academic appeal it is more than theoretical. Answering the question of capitalisms persistence not only helps to locate possible entry points for today’s political actions. It also provides us with the tools to identify socio-technological developments that could further fortify its economic and social dominance. Among those ideas that warrants thorough examination regarding its role in fortifying capitalisms dominance is Web3.