Culture Clash or Transformation? Some Thoughts Concerning the Onslaught of Market Economy on the Internet and its Retaliation



In the 1980’s, the liberal/neoliberal market economy seized the global sphere and with the end of socialism/communism seems to have won its place as the only viable concept of economy. In the 1990’s and 2000’s, market economy took on the internet and in doing so, once again seems to have gained the upper hand, especially as regarding social networking, one of the main characteristics of the current web, which seems to fall prey to economic strategies. The below paper scrutinizes the problematic relation between the net and market economy on a deeper level and gives some prospects towards understanding how net-culture effects market economy itself. To that end the paper commences with a review of Rafael Capurro’s theory of messages. It then explores and queries the overall structure and dominant ends and means of the internet as envisaged by early internet theorists and empirical studies of internet usage. Visions and forms of usage are being constructed and reconstructed and it is shown that these forms of usage and their visions still dominate the net. Looking at Bernard Mandeville and Adam Smith, the structure of liberal market economy is exemplified. Loosely tying in with Jürgen Habermas’ theory of rationalities and Capurro’s message-theory, the rationalities, cultures and messages of dominant forms of usage of net and of market economy are reconstructed. The claim is then posited that market economy functions in accordance with strategic rationality, thereby creating a culture of competition defined by the message of the competitive strive towards monopoly. In contrast, the net embodies communicative, aesthetic-expressive and cooperative rationalities and creates cultures of cooperation and individualization with messages of respect and care, revealing itself as creating beauty and incentive towards cooperation. These latter rationalities, cultures and messages greatly differ from the rationality, culture and message of classical market economy. In conclusion, the below paper demonstrates that strategic rationality is incompatible with communicative, expressive and cooperative rationality, as are cultures and messages, rationalities that are endangered through the subjugation of strategic rationality, revealing their recursive effects on market economy itself. New forms of productivity emerge on the net and in the digital world. Thus the culture clash between market economy and the net may be the beginning of a transformation of market economy itself.


Posit Product Line Kelly Defend Metaphor 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, A., Murata, K., Orito, Y., Parslow, P. (2011). Emerging social norms in the UK and Japan on privacy and revelation in SNS. International Review of Information Ethics, 16(12), 18-26.Google Scholar
  2. Apel, K.-O. (1990a). Kann der postkantische Standpunkt der Moralität nochmals in eine substantielle Sittlichkeit aufgehoben werden? In K.-O. Apel (1990), Diskurs und Verantwortung (pp. 103-153). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  3. Apel, K.-O. (1990b). Diskursethik als Verantwortungsethik und das Problem der ökonomischen Rationalität. In K.-O. Apel (1990), Diskurs und Verantwortung (pp 103-153). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  4. Barlow, J. P. (1996). A declaration of independence of cyberspace.
  5. Baudrillard, J. (1978). Agonie des Realen. Berlin, Germany: Merve.Google Scholar
  6. Bruns, A. (2007). Produsage: Towards a broader framework for user-led content creation. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI Conference on Creativity & Cognition 6, Washington, DC.
  7. Bruns, A. (2008a). Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and beyond. From production to produsage. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  8. Bruns, A. (2008b). The future is user-led: The path towards widespread produsage. Fibreculture Journal, 11.
  9. Capurro, R. (2003). Ethik im Netz. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner.Google Scholar
  10. Gadamer, H.-G. (1990). Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik. Tübingen: Mohr.Google Scholar
  11. Habermas, J. (1985a). Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns 1. 3rd edition. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  12. Habermas, J. (1985b). Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns 2. 3rd edition. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  13. Homann, K., & Blome-Drees, F. (1992). Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Rupprecht.Google Scholar
  14. Hume, D. (1994). Enquiries concerning human understanding and concerning the principles of morals, (13th ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. (Originally published in 1751)Google Scholar
  15. Levy, P. (1999). Collective intelligence. Mankind’s emerging world in cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: Helix, Perseus.Google Scholar
  16. Mandeville, B. (1980). Die Bienenfabel, (2nd ed.) Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp (Original work published in 1705 as The grumbling hive, annotated 1714 and moreover supplemented until 1728).Google Scholar
  17. McLuhan, M. (1994). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Boston, MA: MIT Press. (Original work published in 1964)Google Scholar
  18. Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community: Homesteading at the electronic frontier. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  19. Smith, A. (1985). Theorie der ethischen Gefühle, (3rd ed.). Hamburg, West Germany: Meiner. (Original work published in 1759 as The theory of moral sentiments) Google Scholar
  20. Smith, A. (1993). Der Wohlstand der Nationen, (6th ed.). Munich, Germany: dtv. (Original work published in 1776 as An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations) Google Scholar
  21. Toffler, A. (1980). The third wave. London, United Kingdom: Collins.Google Scholar
  22. Turkle, S. (1999). Leben im Netz. Identitäten in Zeiten des Internet. Reinbek, Germany: rororo. (Originally published as: Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen. New York, NY: Simon & Shuster)Google Scholar
  23. Welsch, W. (1991). Unsere postmoderne Moderne, (3rd ed.) Weinheim, Germany: VCA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität AugsburgMünchenGermany

Personalised recommendations