Report: Structures of Global Capitalism

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  Economic structure; introduction

"Globalization is to no small extent based upon the rise of rapid global communication networks. Some even go so far as to argue that "information has replaced manufacturing as the foundation of the economy". Indeed, global media and communication are in some respects the advancing armies of global capitalism."

(Robert McChesney, author of "Rich Media, Poor Democracy")

"Information flow is your lifeblood."

(Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft)

The usefulness of information and communication technologies increases with the number of people who use them. The more people form part of communication networks, the greater the amount of information that is produced. Microsoft founder Bill Gates dreams of "friction free capitalism", a new stage of capitalism in which perfect information becomes the basis for the perfection of the markets.

But exploitative practices have not disappeared. Instead, they have colonised the digital arena where effective protective regulation is still largely absent.

Following the dynamics of informatised economies, the consumption habits and lifestyles if customers are of great interest. New technologies make it possible to store and combine collected data of an enormous amount of people.

User profiling helps companies understand what potential customers might want. Often enough, such data collecting takes place without the customer's knowledge and amounts to spying.

"Much of the information collection that occurs on the Internet is invisible to the consumer, which raises serious questions of fairness and informed consent."

(David Sobel, Electronic Privacy Information Center)

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Structures of Global Capitalism
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