Centre for Internet & Society

Anubha Sinha participated in a JNC workshop organized by Just Net Coalition Workshop on Equity and Social Justice in a Digital World and its partners in Bangkok from March 25 to 27, 2019.


Digital is increasingly the substratum of much of social, economic and political activities, marking the advent of what has been called as the digital society and economy. While it does promise the advancement of human civilisation in many ways – enabling unimagined efficiencies of resource utilisation and new forms of intelligent social and economic organisation and functioning, these gains are not automatic. This is especially so regarding whether the benefits of a digital society and economy will be equitably distributed, or if data enabled pervasive digital intelligence will get employed by the powerful to further entrench their controls over the rest. It is a telling fact that the last decade and half of the rise of the Internet and digital were also the times of one of the fastest ever worsening of inequality worldwide. If the deep social, economic and political troubles currently faced by the world are any evidence, we may not be employing the newly available digitally intelligent means for better management of our societies and economies.

Governments, that are supposed to ensure appropriate economic distribution and social justice, are completely at a loss with regard to the digital society/economy phenomenon, and leave it to big – mostly global – business to advice and lead them. Even among civil society, while there exist many groups and networks advocating for the very important civil and political rights in a digital era, there is hardly any presence and work related to corresponding economic and social rights and justice. This has resulted in a singular homogeneous global digital economy discourse which is not just hegemonic – as admittedly happens in other areas as well – but also remains almost entirely uncontested, without any alternatives articulated even at its peripheries. It is underpinned by the neoliberal tenets of seamless techno-enabled economic globalisation, open unregulated markets (but actually monopoly corporate controls), and individual merit and personal responsibility. Productivity and inclusion are both sold as assured outcomes of imbibing digital technologies into everything.

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