Digital Disruption and its Social Impacts


Deepening digitalization and globalization has induced an ongoing societal transformation that may ultimately prove to be as significant as the original industrial revolution. Even as the ICT industry is being restructured, global competition is being transformed. Previously dominant firms—including telecommunications carriers, equipment providers, and powerful legacy software firms—are under assault from the move to cloud computing, in the network center, and mobile computing, on the network periphery. This transformation of the computing and communication infrastructure has been occurring simultaneously with the spread of ever more complicated and sophisticated global value chains. The articles in this special issue explore a number of the key facets of this transformation in a comparative lens. The authors find that the social, legal, and economic arrangements will impact how these changes affect nation-states. For policy-makers there will be serious dilemmas, as they will have to simultaneously nurture and support many aspects of these changes, while also mitigating or channeling some of the outcomes so as to protect privacy, income equality, and fair taxation.

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Publication date: 
February 1, 2015
Publication type: 
Journal Article