Law unto themselves?

EPISODE 35

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The pervasiveness of platforms in our societies is hard to ignore.  It has wide ranging effects on and implications for our economic, social and cultural practices and lives. Some focus on the dominance of digital platforms as a failing of antitrust and call for an entire overhaul of the intellectual enterprise. Others go further.  One of those is the guest on this episode, Professor Frank Pasquale of the University of Maryland, author of the widely acclaimed book, The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms that Control Money and Information.

For Frank, the societal concerns raised by platform dominance cannot be dealt with adequately as a matter of economic analysis. Rather, the culture, practices and effects of these companies raise fundamental questions about the type of society we want to live in. In light of this, it behoves us, he argues, to engage in a holistic philosophical inquiry, one that concerns our collective values and is not reduced to the methodological individualism of neoclassical economics. His call to action is a wholesale wresting back of control by the state.

This episode was recorded before a live audience at the Melbourne Law School on the occasion of Frank’s visit for the Digital Citizens Conference held 24-26 July.

You can read some of Frank’s writing here and his book, The Black Box Society, is available here. You can follow him on Twitter @FrankPasquale.

Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition.

Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society.

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