The “Knowledge Economy” and “Digital Capitalism”

Welcome to “Another Day in DMS”!

Here is our blog question for the week: 

What can you do as a knowledge worker to ensure you benefit from rather than are a victim of digital capitalism?

Today we will be discussing the “Knowledge Economy” and how “Knowledge Workers” of our modern society are impacted by digital capitalism. A number of articles, books, articles and other sources will be analyzed to figure out the impact of knowledge on societal progress within this so called fourth industrial revolution.

Specifically, we will seek to understand the benefits that digital capitalism can bring to professionals in the field of Law.

The Knowledge Economy:


Peter Drucker, in Chapter 12 of his 1969 book ‘The Age of Discontinuity’ coined the idea of a knowledge economy, wherein “educated workers, communication, information and technology are all central to wealth creation.” (Drucker, 1969).

This theory essentially says that the global economy is gradually in transition from being agriculture and labor-based to being a ‘knowledge economy’; an extension of an “information society” in today’s information age, led by innovation (Dutta & Soumitra, 2012).


In such an economy, it has been theorized that commodification is the key to making money from what was once non-commercial goods, services and ideas. The idea of knowledge as a wealth creating commodity may seem futuristic but the reality is that knowledge today is as important as physical laboring skills were during the days where the world economy was labor and agriculture based.

In summary, Drucker’s knowledge economy has correctly predicted that the world is moving from an economy of goods, to an economy of knowledge and from a society of industrial proletariat to a society of brainworkers, making knowledge, and thus education, the ‘most important resource for any advanced society.’ (Drucker, 1969).

Knowledge Workers:


These are the everyday workers under Drucker’s Knowledge Economy theory. Anyone who utilizes their mind over their physical abilities in their professions is a knowledge worker. Alvin Toffler, A futurist, in his 1980 video entitled ‘Big Thinkers’, reinforced this.

The availability of knowledge to the world’s workforce makes them entrepreneurs who have responsibilities for developing their brain power (Drucker, 1969), where they can control their career goals and aspirations due to the knowledge they have. This is exemplified in the absence of one-career lives for modern day workers; it is today commonplace for the average worker to change career or companies more than once in their lifetime; something unlikely only a few decades ago.


Digital Capitalism:

This is the business in the information and knowledge economy, or the “ECI”; The Entertainment- Communication Information sector.


Flew, T, in his text ‘New Media, an Introduction’ (2008), argued that the knowledge economy trend marks ‘the consolidation of capitalist relations on a global scale, as information is increasingly commodified as intellectual property through digital copyright.’ (Flew, 2005).

John Naughton, in a 2013 article in ‘the Guardian’ summarized digital capitalism as understanding four concepts – margins, volume, inequality and employment. And additionally, the following adjectives: thin, vast, huge and poor. (Naughton, 2013).

Digital Capitalism in the Legal Profession:

As an aspiring lawyer, this blogger is aware that the Law is quintessentially knowledge based; lawyers think for a living. It is a profession that is very much within the realm of a knowledge economy and which is a large contribution to this proposed new world economy.

It is therefore primordial to understand the potential impacts of digital capitalism in such an economy, because ‘we are living through a period of profound change and transformation of the shape of society and its underlying economic base […] the nature of production, trade, employment and work in the coming decades will be very different from what it is today.’ (Houghton & Sheehan, 2000).

How to Benefit from Digital Capitalism in the Legal profession

To not be a victim of digital capitalism and stop important information from being made inaccessible, lawyers must be progressive with their knowledge and put in place systems of regulation of knowledge to avoid the creation of a digital capitalistic legal society where digital information is restricted and controlled by private entities for profit, resulting in the loss of income and jobs by your average legal professional (Naughton, 2013).

The important of knowledge in the legal profession is intrinsic. Lawyers cannot be lawyers without knowledge and education, and that is why a measured and regulated approach to knowledge is important as a lawyer; if information is deregulated, lawyers will lose jobs and their legal educations reduced to useless pieces of paper.

Within the bigger picture, the law is a main sector of the world knowledge economy. This sector has close ties with education, which, in a knowledge economy, may become the most valued commodity within a society that commodifies intangible goods such as knowledge.


In our world that is ever expanding and progressing within the digital revolution, it is very important to take measures to benefit from the digital capitalization of world markets. In the Legal profession, it can be achieved as outlined above.

Tune back in a few weeks for another adventure into the fascinating world of Digital Media and Society!


Bibliography (APA 6th Edition): 


Houghton, J. & Sheehan, P. (2000). A Primer on the Knowledge Economy. Centre For Strategic Economic Studies, 1(18). Retrieved from


Dutta, & Soumitra,. (2012). The Global Innovation Index 2012: Stronger Innovation Linkages for Global Growth (1st ed.). INSEAD. Retrieved from

Naughton, J. (2013). Digital capitalism produces few winners. the Guardian. Retrieved 07 October 2016, from

Thinking for a living. (2006). The Economist. Retrieved 09 October 2016, from

The age of smart machines. (2013). The Economist. Retrieved 09 October 2016, from

Holtshouse, D. (2009). The future of knowledge workers, Part 1. KMWorld Magazine. Retrieved 08 October 2016, from

Knowledge worker. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved 09 October 2016, from

Knowledge economy. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved 10 October 2016, from

Advanced capitalism. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved 10 October 2016, from


Drucker, P. (1969). The age of discontinuity. New York: Harper & Row.

Schiller, D. (1999). Digital capitalism. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Flew, T. (2005). New media. South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.


Machine, P. (2009). Big Thinkers – Alvin Toffler [Futurist] (2 of 3). Retrieved from

iPhone – Learn how to Use an Iphone. (2007). Retrieved from




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