http://www.faz.net/-gsf-7pja5

Sigmar Gabriel : Political consequences of the Google debate

  • -Aktualisiert am

The transfer of profits must be restricted: the practice of globally operating companies paying licences to letterbox companies in tax havens so that they can concentrate their earnings in countries where no or very little tax has to be paid must be curbed. This practice has been deliberately applied for quite some time: patents are held by a bogus company and companies located elsewhere pay fees for these patents until their profits have been reduced to nil. We must strive to enforce that licence payments are only acknowledged as tax-reducing operating expenses if there is an appropriate level of taxation in the target country.

Alternative forms for organising work

Fourthly: We have to formulate a new set of rules for work if we are to prevent “click workers” from becoming day labourers void of all rights in the digital world. We see how employees are exposed to unprecedented surveillance stress when their PC monitor, a camera or even sensors carried on their bodies constantly monitor and report their productivity. We see how work is losing its fixed base, how the boundary between work and leisure is becoming blurred, how long-lasting contractual relationships to a single employer are becoming a thing of the past and how permanent jobs are being replaced by “projects” advertised or even auctioned on the web so that the fastest and cheapest tenderer gets the contract, i. e. all do the work but only the winner gets paid. The technical possibilities of destroying decent work can be extended indefinitely. The critical question is whether we want to allow this to happen and whether we want to live in this kind of world. We need to encourage further debate on this issue hand in hand with the trade unions.

Looking back on Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit, we can draw new confidence that the digital age which started in humble circumstances but with a grand idea will remain open for innovative ideas that can positively change people’s work and lives. To achieve this aim, we need entrepreneurs with the same qualities as could once be found in utopia-driven California, namely a keen sense of the human desire to be liberated from undignified dependence. It is up to European politics to re-formulate the democratically legitimised regulatory and market conditions of the digital age and to establish relevant regulations, even if this involves a struggle, with the force of a crystal-clear analysis along with the interventionary power of a vast economic region.

The future of democracy is at stake

The innocent, “fun” phase of the Internet is over. We see things more clearly now. The perils of the digital revolution loom, on the one hand, in authoritarian or even totalitarian tendencies which are inherent to the opportunities offered by this technology and, on the other hand, in the threat posed by new monopoly powers undermining laws and regulations. It is the future of democracy in the digital age, and nothing less, that is at stake here, and with it, the freedom, emancipation, participation and self-determination of 500 million people in Europe. Once again it is the job of committed democrats to reconcile technical and economic progress with political and social progress. If the source of the danger of digital totalitarianism lies in the loss of human autonomy, then our political answer must start right there. The fight for democracy in the digital age is a fight for human self-determination.

Sigmar Gabriel is Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and is Chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD.

Quelle: FAZ.NET

Weitere Themen

Hongkongs virtueller Friedhof Video-Seite öffnen

China : Hongkongs virtueller Friedhof

Beerdigungen können im chinesischen Hongkong äußerst kostspielig sein. Ein Start-up bietet nun eine digitale Lösung, die deutlich günstiger ist.

Topmeldungen

Nationales Punktesystem : China plant die totale Überwachung

Mit einem gigantischen Punktesystem wollen Chinas Kommunisten jeden einzelnen Bürger zu sozialistisch-tugendhafter Folgsamkeit zwingen. Regierungskritiker werden bestraft.
Der Jeep des Überläufers bleibt stecken.

Korea-Konflikt : Video zeigt Jagd auf nordkoreanischen Soldaten

Das Kommando der Vereinten Nationen in Südkorea wirft dem Norden vor, bei der Jagd auf einen Überläufer den Waffenstillstand gebrochen zu haben. Zum Beweis veröffentlicht es Videoaufnahmen, die an einen Actionfilm erinnern.

Suche nach U-Boot : Flugzeug entdeckt Objekt auf Meeresgrund

Bei der Suche nach dem vermissten argentinischen U-Boot sind die Retter laut Medienberichten auf eine Wärmequelle in 70 Metern Tiefe gestoßen. Wegen des Sauerstoffmangels spricht die Marine von einer „kritischen Phase“.

Newsletter

Immer auf dem Laufenden Sie haben Post! Abonnieren Sie unsere FAZ.NET-Newsletter und wir liefern die wichtigsten Nachrichten direkt in Ihre Mailbox. Es ist ein Fehler aufgetreten. Bitte versuchen Sie es erneut.
Vielen Dank für Ihr Interesse an den F.A.Z.-Newslettern. Sie erhalten in wenigen Minuten eine E-Mail, um Ihre Newsletterbestellung zu bestätigen.