Mansil Reviews


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At 140 pages, this concise book provides a helpful guide to those coming with fresh eyes to studying platforms and platform regulation. Its scope is international, but rooted in Western institutional and critical political economic analysis. It alludes to, but does not cover in depth, the racial, gender and colonial politics of platform economics. Its characterisations of the regulatory problems, private initiatives and possible regulatory responses to digital platforms are brief and digestible. Students will be able to augment this introduction with additional reading, drawing on the helpful references provided.

Book Review: Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics by Robin Mansell and W. Edward Steinmueller

In Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics, Robin Mansell and W. Edward Steinmueller offer a new roadmap to the economics and regulation of digital platforms, arguing that decisions about regulating platforms should be driven by careful economic analysis. This concise book provides a helpful guide to those coming with fresh eyes to studying platforms and platform regulation, finds Sara Bannerman.

Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics. Robin Mansell and W. Edward Steinmueller. Edward Elgar Publishing. 2020.

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In Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics, Robin Mansell and W. Edward Steinmueller argue that decisions about regulating social media platforms should not be taken in a state of panic or outrage, but rather through careful economic analysis. They introduce three modalities of economic analysis, drawing on this to advocate for forms of platform regulation at arm’s length both from platforms and government, as well as government investments in new business models that might, in future, create an ‘off ramp’ from the harms and threats embedded in platform economics.

In Chapters One and Two, the authors define the term ‘platform’ and outline the main trends that have led to the rise of digital platforms. These include digitisation, mobile communications, datafication and artificial intelligence — none of which, the authors emphasise, were inevitable; rather they are the result of political choices about the design, use and values embedded in technical systems (137). Platforms are, in economic terms, disruptors. They disrupt not only established business models, but also public values such as equality, fairness, solidarity, privacy and freedom of expression (2); and economic, social and political institutions (9). The authors draw on neoclassical economics, institutional economics and critical political economy to frame the disruption posed by platforms — and what to do about it.

Taking the growing use of datafication and artificial intelligence as their main points of focus, the authors outline in Chapter Four the biases, labour implications, cybersecurity and surveillance/privacy impacts of artificial intelligence as algorithms learn human biases, displace workers, ramp up the cybersecurity ‘arms race’ and are integrated into workplace and corporate surveillance practices. The authors outline the impacts of content aggregation on journalism and media: the displacement of broadcasters and newspaper publishers from decisions on how content is presented by social media aggregators such as Google News, publishers’ and broadcasters’ loss of advertising revenues and the challenges to journalistic values and ethics as journalists pursue clicks with emotive, entertainment-focused, partisan or polarising news content. What is the appropriate response to these problems and disruptions?

Self-regulation and non-state intervention were, for several decades, the leading approaches to the regulation of the internet and platforms. According to the neoclassical economic theories outlined as one of the three main economic frameworks of the book, it was assumed that the market would solve the problems that digitisation, mobile communications, datafication and artificial intelligence entailed.

In Chapter Five, the authors examine some of the current private or non-state approaches to confronting the problems brought by platform economics, which include the erosion of public values as well as of robust, diverse and reliable media systems. The authors take note of several private projects that attempt to challenge commercial surveillance-based business models, including privacy-focused data architectures such as Solid, the Hub-of-All-Things (HAT) and data trusts. They conclude, however, that none of these projects are likely to achieve the level of success that would challenge the continued erosion of public values under the current commercial datafied business models of digital platforms.

If self-regulation and private challengers do not provide a solution, can state intervention? In Chapter Six the authors explore this question, presenting a whirlwind tour of regulatory options: anti-trust and competition law, platform content regulation (including the duty of care, or online harms legislation) and privacy law (including privacy law reform and information fiduciaries). Anti-trust, or breaking up platform companies, the authors argue, is unlikely to ‘alter the progress of commercial datafication and the further infiltration of algorithms into decision making in society’ (139). Instead, ‘for a significant change to happen’, they argue, ‘people must be able to exit commercial datafication, but they can only do so if they have somewhere to exit to’ (139). Other regulatory approaches, such as state-mandated content regulation, might ‘inadvertently, or by design’ (113) infringe on the public values that they seek to protect, including freedom of expression.

The solution, Mansell and Steinmueller argue, is threefold. First, traditional regulation is required: a mix of self-regulation and regulatory oversight independent of both platforms and states. Regulatory capture is an ongoing concern, but public regulation of communications (such as telecommunications) has a long history and, while not always perfect, is a viable approach. Second, datafication of sensitive areas, such as politics or children’s data, should be prohibited. Finally, governments should invest in alternative business models (138-39). Such investments could include investments in infrastructure such as data trusts, public connectivity infrastructure, public service media platforms, digital skills and literacy, publicly funded search engines and collectively owned non-commercial data repositories, possibly supported by tax provisions (111, 139).

The authors acknowledge that government investment in, or support of, alternative business models such as those based on collective or public data management could impede innovation (26). So could regulation, particularly where it prohibits or reduces platforms’ abilities to monetise users’ data (26). This trade-off, they suggest, may be worth it if public values are to be protected.

At 140 pages, this concise book provides a helpful guide to those coming with fresh eyes to studying platforms and platform regulation. Its scope is international, but rooted in Western institutional and critical political economic analysis. It alludes to, but does not cover in depth, the racial, gender and colonial politics of platform economics. Its characterisations of the regulatory problems, private initiatives and possible regulatory responses to digital platforms are brief and digestible. Students will be able to augment this introduction with additional reading, drawing on the helpful references provided.

Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics offers students a roadmap to the economics and regulation of digital platforms, guided by two heavy-hitters in the field. Mansell and Steinmueller also provide a map to the ‘off ramp’ from platform capitalism.

  • This review first appeared at LSE Review of Books.

Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USAPP – American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

About the reviewer

Sara BannermanMcMaster University
Sara Bannerman, Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance, is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at McMaster University in Canada. She researches and teaches on communication policy and governance and directs McMaster’s Communications Governance Observatory. Dr Bannerman has published three books: Canadian Communication Policy and Law (Canadian Scholars, 2020), International Copyright and Access to Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and The Struggle for Canadian Copyright: Imperialism to Internationalism, 1842-1971 (UBC Press, 2013). She has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on communication policy, privacy, international copyright and other topics in new media, traditional media and communications theory in journals such as Communication Theory, New Political Economy, the Canadian Journal of Communication, Futures, and Information, Communication and Society.

Greg Mansell did a tremendous job walking me through the process – counseling me – and making me feel comfortable about my deposition was great! Finding an employment lawyer is difficult. Definitely do you homework before selecting and attorney and know that you can’t go wrong with Mansell Law. Thanks again!

Reviews of Your Ohio Employment Attorneys

Choosing an Ohio employment lawyer can be difficult. Below are some testimonials from former clients that wanted to let those seeking an attorney know about their experience with Mansell Law and our attorneys: Greg Mansell, Carrie Dyer, Kyle Anderson, and Rhiannon Herbert. We want you to feel comfortable and secure with your choice of Columbus employment attorney.

I was very nervous about finding an employment attorney in Columbus when I lost my job. After searching for quite some time Mr. Mansell came to me highly recommended as an aggressive but charismatic lawyer. From the first time we met and throughout my case Greg kept me well informed. The attorney to client communication was astonishing as he personally contacted me with frequent updates. Do other employment lawyers do that? I felt like he was a personal friend and I was quite comfortable during our various meetings. I felt like he personally cared about my employment case and he fought for me. I always knew the employment lawyers at Mansell Law were on my side and they never backed down. He was very professional with the opposing parties and never gave up. He won my case for me. I will always be grateful to him for changing my life and making the process of selecting an employment lawyer painless. My life was in his hands as well as my employment career and he came through for me. I would recommend him to everybody I know who needs an employment attorney, he is simply amazing. If you are searching for an employment lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, look no further than Mansell Law!

Denise V., Nurse Manager – Columbus, Ohio

Greg is an excellent employment attorney and I would strongly recommend him to anyone, especially those closest to me. I came across Mansell Law when I searched for Columbus Employment Lawyers. I got lucky! His assistance was essential to gaining a quick approval in my recent Long Term Disability claim, due to the extensive and complex medical background! A little over a year ago I had an initial consultation with Greg to discuss an issue with my employer not responding to my (Americans with Disabilities Act)ADA requests. I was so impressed with his expertise, confidence, and passion towards advocacy that all the employment lawyers had at Mansell Law. There was no question who I was going to hire for my upcoming LTD claim. Unfortunately, my health had continued to decline over the year, and I was not the easiest nor most reliable client. There were times when I was not reachable because I was sick in bed for days at a time. In addition to this, I experienced many technical problems and even created a filter accidentally blocking all of Greg’s emails the week before my claim was due. Even though I was oblivious to the problem, thus ignoring all of his emails, Greg rearranged his schedule to help me ensure all of the paperwork was submitted in time! Many attorneys would not have been as accommodating or as knowledgeable! I was shocked to learn that my claim was approved during the initial review, and I’m confident that it would not have been possible without Greg’s outstanding legal guidance!!

Emaly Littlefield, Approval of Long Term Disability Benefits – Columbus, Ohio

Greg Mansell and the employment attorneys at Mansell Law helped not only me but my family in a time of need. He was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and caring. I was in an unfortunate situation due to no fault of my own. Mr. Mansell was willing to go the extra mile to help me with legal matters when I felt helpless. I would strongly recommend him to anyone looking for an employment attorney in Ohio. Thank you Mr. Mansell.

Mike D., Disabled Veteran, Disability Discrimination – Columbus, Ohio

Greg Mansell did a tremendous job walking me through the process – counseling me – and making me feel comfortable about my deposition was great! Finding an employment lawyer is difficult. Definitely do you homework before selecting and attorney and know that you can’t go wrong with Mansell Law. Thanks again!

R.W., Age Discrimination – Columbus, Ohio

I owe my job to Greg Mansell’s work. When I came to him after searching for an employment lawyer in Cincinnati, the writing was on the wall that I would be terminated and I felt there was nothing I could do. Mr. Mansell took an aggressive approach and made my employer back down. It saved my job and let me sleep at night. I really can’t say enough about his approach and knowledge. He truly cares about helping the individuals and listening to the client’s needs. No matter where you are in Ohio, Mansell Law is the right team of employment lawyers.

M.L., Gender Discrimination – Cincinnati, Ohio

You hope to never have to look for an employment attorney but I’m glad I found Mansell Law to represent me in Toledo, Ohio. From the start Greg Mansell made me feel confident in my case and seemed to truly care about my feelings and views. He knew the best approach when it came time to present my case. He contacted me and made sure I did not feel alone or confused the day of my hearing. I felt very proud to have him on my side as he shined while leaving the other side stumbling for answers. I was very excited to win my case, but even if I didn’t, there wouldn’t be regret as I know he was the best choice for a Toledo employment lawyer.

Jayson K., Wage and Hour – Toledo, Ohio

I talked to many employment attorneys in Ohio before I decided to go with Mansell Law. Carrie and Greg we on top of it from the beginning. Their approach made sense and they were always able to explain things to me in a way I could understand. We worked as a team on my wrongful termination case that involved the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. I am extremely happy with the result and cannot say enough good things about these lawyers. If you are unsure about which employment law firm to pick, these employment lawyers are amazing and represented me in Dayton, Ohio.

Mark W., FMLA and Disability Discrimination – Dayton, Ohio

I was nervous about selecting an employment attorney in Cleveland Ohio because the company I worked at was so large. So I started looking at employment attorneys in Columbus, OH. I found an amazing firm! Mansell Law and its lawyers were always responsive and kept me up to date on case happenings. They listened to what I wanted and aggressively pursued it. I am so happy to have found these Columbus employment lawyers even though I live and worked in Cleveland. They have my highest recommendation.

Linda H., Discrimination and Retaliation – Cleveland, Ohio

Disclaimer: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in your case. Individual results and experiences may vary based on a number of different variables including, but not limited to, the facts, jurisdiction, goals, venue, witnesses, parties, and other factors. Further, the above testimonials are individual opinions about specific experiences and are not intended as generally applicable to the lawyers or law firms skills or experiences in all cases

Like her previous novels, Staying at Daisy’s is both fun and serious with a cast of mostly loveable characters whose connections to one another provide much tension and entertainment. Daisy MacLean runs a high-end hotel owned by her father in the village of Colworth, England. Her best friend, Tara, one of the hotel’s chambermaids, stirs things up when her ex-boyfriend arrives at the hotel for his wedding, and the two are found in a compromising position. Tara insists she did nothing wrong, and Daisy’s willingness to back her up causes her to butt heads with the best man, Dev Tyzack, a former professional rugby player who is incredibly handsome and finds Daisy amusing. However, Daisy thinks she sees right through him, and after all the hurt caused by her late husband, she’s not about to get involved with a womanizer.

Diary of an Eccentric

‘…Your friend is a tart and you’re trying to excuse her,’ Dev shot back. ‘You’re blaming everyone else–‘

‘Oh yes you are. You’re even trying to blame me, and I can’t for the life of me understand why.’

Daisy’s eyes blazed. She longed to punch him. It wasn’t fair, trying to argue with someone when you were drunk and they were stone-cold sober. And when they were disturbingly attractive and you had your wellies on the wrong feet.

(from Staying at Daisy’s , page 324 in the ARC)

Staying at Daisy’s is the latest novel by British author Jill Mansell to be republished in the U.S. by Sourcebooks. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this book, but it was worth it. Whenever I need a light read to help me recover from all those war novels I gobble up like candy, I know Mansell won’t let me down.

Like her previous novels, Staying at Daisy’s is both fun and serious with a cast of mostly loveable characters whose connections to one another provide much tension and entertainment. Daisy MacLean runs a high-end hotel owned by her father in the village of Colworth, England. Her best friend, Tara, one of the hotel’s chambermaids, stirs things up when her ex-boyfriend arrives at the hotel for his wedding, and the two are found in a compromising position. Tara insists she did nothing wrong, and Daisy’s willingness to back her up causes her to butt heads with the best man, Dev Tyzack, a former professional rugby player who is incredibly handsome and finds Daisy amusing. However, Daisy thinks she sees right through him, and after all the hurt caused by her late husband, she’s not about to get involved with a womanizer.

Mansell’s secondary characters are just as interesting as the main characters. Tara is so desperate to find true love that she tries too hard to get men to like her and believes everything they tell her. I love that she wants to be more like her homebody, no-need-for-men aunt, not realizing that Maggie is desperately in love with someone who views their relationship as an arrangement of convenience. There’s also Josh, Daisy’s fun-loving ex-boyfriend from college; Hector, Daisy’s father, who loves to hold embarrassingly awful sing-a-longs with his guests; Barney, an organ transplant recipient who moves to the village in search of a quieter life; and Mel, a single mom who harbors a secret that could squash her second chance at love.

Mansell has a way of making her characters’ flaws endearing, and I always find myself so involved in the tales she weaves that I laugh out loud at their bumbling antics. Mansell always manages to add a serious side to her novels that give them some depth, but she never goes overboard on the drama or the romance. Staying at Daisy’s is perfect for reading outdoors on those warm spring days that are just around the corner (at least in my neck of the woods).

Check out my reviews of other books by Jill Mansell:

Disclosure: I received a copy of Staying at Daisy’s from Sourcebooks for review purposes. I am an IndieBound affiliate and an Amazon associate.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.


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