Collection • June 1, 2021

Lost in the Super Market

Navigating the Digital Age

Foreword: Governing After a Revolution

The biggest tech challenges for policymakers go far beyond “Big Tech.”

Five Principles of Tech Governance

The time has come to take stock of the Information Era and to govern it.

Frictionless Exchange: A Primer

What happens to markets as the digital age improves their efficiency and introduces them to new domains?

Remaking the Modern Market

Gig workers deserve fair labor markets that private platforms cannot provide.

Freedom from Market Frictions

Digital platforms are but the latest innovation to empower workers and unburden consumers.

Frictionless Exchange: Author Discussion

Wingham Rowan (Modern Markets for All) and Neil Chilson (Charles Koch Institute) discuss the advent of frictionless exchange with Wells King (American Compass).

The Attention Economy: A Primer

What happens to media as the digital age enhances their ability to engage consumers?

Reclaiming Self-Rule in the Digital Dystopia

Attention-harvesting technologies jeopardize our capacity to govern concentrated power—and ourselves.

Digital Is No Different

Digital media’s critics echo the same arguments and attitudes of paternalists past.

Attention Economy: Author Discussion

Matthew Crawford (UVA’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture) and Peter Suderman (Reason) discuss the ramifications of the “Attention Economy” with Wells King (American Compass).

All-Knowing Algorithms: Author Discussion

Alec Stapp (Progressive Policy Institute) and Wells King (American Compass) discuss the implications of “All-Knowing Algorithms” with Oren Cass.

Selling the Digital Soul

The use and abuse of personal data pose a collective challenge that cannot be solved by individuals.

Making Data Work for Us

A pragmatic view of privacy should encourage data collection that benefits users and innovators alike.

All-Knowing Algorithms: A Primer

What happens to personal data as the digital age deepens their quality, widens their availability, and creates new uses for them?

Overview

Technological change has transformed American society in ways that present novel questions for public policy. Markets function differently than in the past, less constrained by the need for human relationships or even contact. Media business models present different incentives to content producers and experiences to consumers, while blurring lines between the two groups. The challenge remains to understand the consequences of this transformation and to find our way in the massive, digitally mediated marketplace that constitutes so much of our private and common lives today.

Lost in the Super Market aims to help policymakers find their bearings in the digital age. The foreword, by Oren Cass, provides a framework for disentangling the problem of economic concentration posed by “Big Tech,” the political and democratic implications of our public square moving online, and the novel regulatory issues associated with our new Super Market. The collection then convenes pairs of experts to explore three facets of the Super Market and their consequences: frictionless exchange that bypasses the traditional institutions and relationships of markets, the attention economy’s pursuit of user “engagement,” and all-knowing algorithms that predict user behaviors and preferences. A short primer accompanies each pair of essays, outlining the contours and policy implications of the topic. Podcast conversations between the pairs of writers will explore the issues in further depth.

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