This chapter explores the increasing significance of social media in international political economy (IPE). How we experience and represent social media has profound implications for the ethical possibilities and limits of global market life. The chapter begins by problematizing social media through the related concepts of self-branding, the attention economy, and the prosumer. It then looks at social media via two popular documentaries on Netflix: Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2018) and The Social Dilemma (2020). These documentaries tackle questions of reform and regulation, identifying how social media data carries immense value for corporate marketing, political strategy, credit rating, and other ways of knowing and governing society. This helps to establish an important dilemma: is social media a free and democratic space or a new infrastructure of surveillance? Finally, the chapter reflects on the politics of social media by considering different forms of critical agency.
This chapter examines the political economy of development. Despite the many accomplishments since the end of the Second World War, the problems of development in the contemporary global political economy are still of arresting proportions, and the various incarnations of a ‘global development agenda’ to deal with these problems have had a very mixed record. In fact, there is still little consensus on what development actually is, let alone how it might be achieved, in either academic debates or public discourse. One of the most disputed questions in this context relates to the relationship between globalization and development, and how people should understand the impact of globalization on development across the world. The chapter explores these debates. It starts by reviewing the different ways of thinking about development that have emerged since the end of the Second World War, and demonstrating how particular understandings of development have given rise to particular kinds of development strategies, at both the national and global levels. The chapter then considers the impacts and consequences of these strategies for development, and shows on this basis that many of the problems and failures of development have not only persisted but also worsened in the contemporary period.