Edited by Hanns Ullrich, Peter Drahos and Gustavo Ghidini
Chapter 7: New economic models, new forms of state: the emergence of the ‘info-imperium’ state
The international political economist Robert W. Cox argues that different periods give rise to different forms of state, reflecting mutually beneficial interdependencies between the state and dominant parts of society and favouring certain forms of economic development over others. This chapter marries Cox’s analysis of historic blocs and state-society complexes to Susan Strange’s conception of structural power in order to better conceptualize the implications of the rising importance of the control of knowledge for the global political economy. The marriage of a dominant surveillance- and knowledge-based business model, combined with state interest in ubiquitous surveillance and stronger intellectual property rights is remaking the global political economy at a fundamental level. Using the United States as the example of the most advanced ‘info-imperium state’, the chapter argues that the shared goal of total surveillance of all online activity by leading Internet companies and the state, and the related pursuit of wealth creation through the commodification of knowledge, are emblematic of the emergence of a new form of state, which this chapter terms the info-imperium state.
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