The pros and cons of the digital revolution
Lobby for fairer set of regulations for online and traditional businesses
Few would gainsay the benefits of the industrial revolution. Increased productivity brought with it rising household income and innovation-enhanced quality of life. But the disruption, displacement and dispossession it entailed meant that many at the time would have struggled to recognise its good. So too with the digital revolution. But if SA has an advantage in not being the first frontier of the digital revolution it is that it can be better prepared for negative disruption and able to offset it. While SA has tried to facilitate e-commerce by passing legislation such as the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, it hasn’t really grappled with the reality of South Africans being customers of online behemoths such as the so-called Fangs: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. Take Netflix. It is making significant inroads in SA, disrupting pay-TV behemoth MultiChoice by providing a cheaper, more convenient and nonlinear way of watching TV content. The streaming content prov...
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