Platform Politick

The Platform Politick series is a set of think-pieces that weigh in on the platformization phenomenon in the current economy, and analyze global trends and issues.
  • Platform as Infrastructure and the Rise of Ant Financial in China

    Author: Hong Shen, Carnegie Melon University

    This paper looks at the recent rise of Ant Financial, an affiliate fintech company of the Chinese Alibaba group, to elucidate the double articulation of “platformization” and “infrastructuralization” in China. The paper highlights three mini cases– the Alipay dispute in 2011, the Yu’ebao drama in 2013 and the monetization of Sesame Credit in 2016. In doing so, it foregrounds the power dynamics that have animated and characterized the Chinese-style “platform capitalism.”
  • See, Nudge, Control and Profit: Digital Platforms as Privatized Epistemic Infrastructures

    Authors: Laura Mann, London School of Economics & Gianluca Iazzolino, London School of Economics

    This paper explores the various ways in which digital platforms are reshaping competitive knowledge production systems within economies. It argues that while digital platforms and technologies have certain technological features that pose ‘developmental challenges,’ political perceptions and coalitions will shape how each society responds to these technological affordances.
  • Show me the Money! Worker Well-Being on Labor Platforms in India

    Authors: Urvashi Aneja, Tandem Research & Aishwarya Sridhar, Tandem Research

    This essay studies perspectives of blue-collar workers on ride-hailing and home-service platforms in India to asses and evaluate worker well-being in the platform economy. The paper outlines a range of potential issues that arise for labor on digital platforms and draws on different disciplinary perspectives on well-being to identify the facets that may be relevant for labor platforms in the global south.
  • Tipping the Scale: Notes on the Topologies of Big Data Platforms

    Author: Maya Ganesh, Leuphana University

    Big data platforms may not be the planet, but they are similarly impersonal and vast and are known through their own mythologies, metaphors and imaginaries. In presenting the entanglements and mathematical shaping of and in platforms, this essay reflects on the topologies of platforms - not just their shapes, but also the imaginaries of power and agency they shape.