unctad.org | Platforms as an Orchestrator of Digital Re-organization: Strategizing for Long-term Development Impact
Platforms as an Orchestrator of Digital Re-organization: Strategizing for Long-term Development Impact
19 April 2018
11:30 - 13:00, Room XXV
Geneva, Switzerland

Key Issues

Platforms like Uber and Amazon are the digital economy’s key institutional form, seen mainly as creating electronic marketplaces in different sectors. As new, well-oiled, hyper-efficient and low transaction-cost markets, they are considered an important economic innovation and business model.

Their revenue ideally comes from brokerage for various interactions taking place on them. The key regulatory concern here is possible misuse of monopoly/oligopoly status by platform owners to charge inappropriately high brokerage.

Platforms are increasingly data-intelligent, enabling them to match demand and supply highly efficiently. This considerably adds to the danger of skewed “intermediary” behavior which can favor some suppliers over others, as well as exploit data-exposed vulnerabilities of all actors including consumers. This has led to calls for privacy protection and ensuring algorithmic neutrality.

In fact, platforms should no longer be seen as mainly electronic marketplaces. Because of the increasing deep sectoral data-intelligence, they begin to dominate entire value chains – backward linkages from production to inventory-management and forward linkages from delivery to payments. They therefore become the data-intelligent orchestrator of the entire sector, and of all its actors. 

The development potential of platforms is best understood by seeing them multi-dimensionally as digital re-organisers of any sector rather than just uni-dimensional electronic marketplaces.
Moderator: Ms Anita Gurumurthy, Just Net Coalition, and Coordinator, "International Research Network on Policy Framework for Digital Platforms"

Ms Aileen Kwa, Coordinator, Trade for Development Program, South Centre
Mr Joan Kurbalija, Founding Director, Diplo Foundation
Mr Richard Hill, President, Association for Proper Internet Governance
Mr Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change
Mr. Gianluca Iazzolino, post-doctoral research fellow, London School of Economics
Co-organized with:IT for Change, India, Just Net Coalition

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