Across the globe, people dependent on digital technologies have become increasingly alarmed that their rapid adoption and transformation have ushered in an exceedingly concentrated economy where a few powerful companies control vast economic wealth and political power, undermine data privacy, and widen the gap between economic winners and losers. In response, world leaders are variously embracing the idea of reining in the most dominant tech companies. Digital Empires examines three competing regulatory approaches—the American market-driven model, the Chinese state-driven model, and the European rights-driven regulatory model—and discusses how governments and tech companies navigate the inevitable conflicts that arise when these regulatory approaches collide in the international domain. Each digital empire is advancing a competing vision for the digital economy while attempting to expand its sphere of influence in the digital world. Which digital empire will prevail in the contest for global influence remains an open question, yet their contrasting strategies are increasingly clear. In the midst of these unfolding regulatory battles, governments, tech companies, and digital citizens are making important choices that will shape the future ethos of the digital society. Digital Empires lays bare the choices we face as societies and individuals, explains the forces that shape those choices, and illuminates the immense stakes involved for everyone who uses digital technologies.
About the speaker
A leading scholar on the EU's regulatory power and a sought-after commentator on the European Union, global economy, and digital regulation, Anu Bradford coined the term the Brussels Effect to describe the European Union's outsize influence on global markets. Most recently, she is the author of The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World (2020), named one of the best books of 2020 by Foreign Affairs. Her next book Digital Empires: The Global Battle to Regulate Technology will be published by the OUP in September 2023.
Bradford is also an expert in international antitrust law. She spearheads the Comparative Competition Law Project, which has built a comprehensive global data set of antitrust laws and enforcement across time and jurisdictions.
At the Columbia Law School, Bradford is the Director of the European Legal Studies Center, which trains students for leadership roles in European law, public affairs, and the global economy. She is also a senior scholar at Columbia Business School's Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business, and a non-resident scholar at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.