Double Bind: Governing the Economy in an ICT Era



The recent financial debacle was preceded by a long complex evolution in the way firms created value and organized. The fragmentation of production, intense global competition, and the information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled transformation of services are all part of a story that was framed by, and in turn further framed, ideologies of deregulation and self-regulation. In the aftermath of the crisis political leaders worldwide find themselves in a heightened double bind. On one side, the demands for rules allowing experimentation and innovation are sharpened as growth and job creation are needed; on the other side, the demands are heightened for the state to act and regulate markets to prevent future crisis. The article focuses on the development of ICT, the main general-purpose technology of our time, and how the the ways it allows value to be created interacted with the politics regulating uses and defining the winners and losers.