Platform Cooperativism Resource Library


Wolfgang Kowalsky analyses the Commission’s Digital Agenda and shows why it is too narrow and what elements need to be added.

The first industrial revolution was based on the transition from manual production methods to machines and the use of steam power (from 1800), the second industrial revolution was based on mass production and electrification (from 1840/60), and the third referred to computerisation (lean-production, kaizen). The new challenge is the digital revolution, in other words: fourth industrial revolution, industry 4.0, smart services, crowd-sourcing platforms looking for crowdworkers.

While there are bright and dark sides to digitalisation, from a progressive perspective the main focus must be put on the spectacular increase in productivity and its huge impact on employment and work. Digitalisation stands for a megatrend, that fourth industrial revolution, but also for a revolution in the services sector and both start to be quite disruptive. There is potential for major risks – in terms of monopoly building, mass redundancies, new possibilities of supervision and control, even of spying on employees, inadequate data protection, a new military-secret services & Silicon Valley complex etc. – and for major opportunities as well – new possibilities for better information, communication, participation and networking, etc. ‘Digital’ stands for a networked intelligent world, the internet of things (smart products, smart factories, smart logistics) and the internet of services (smart grids, smart mobility, smart health etc.).

Added October 11, 2019