Publication: Conceptualising variety in platform capitalism

Foster, C.G. 2024. Conceptualising variety in platform capitalism: the dynamics of variegated capitalism in Thai digital marketplace platforms. Globalizations, Early view

Paper (open access) | Article in Sixth Tone (focussing on China-Thai platforms aspect)


Digital platforms are expanding globally with significant implications for how economies operate. We argue that the literature has tended to over-emphasize the globalized and homogeneous impacts of platforms with less analysis of variable patterns across space. To conceptualize variety, the notion of variegated capitalism is examined to provide insights into the nature of platform capitalism.

Conceptual discussion is supported by the case of digital marketplace platforms in Thailand. The case highlights how macro-regional relations, national capitalist systems, state strategy and sectoral norms orientate how platforms operate. Examining these variations through the lens of capitalism as an inherently uneven and unfolding process highlights its potential for identifying key contradictions and fixes in platform capitalism, and future directions for regulation and appropriation.

Earlier versions

Foster, C.G. 2022. Conceptualising variety in platform capitalism: Examining the drivers and tensions in Thai E-commerce platforms. Paper presented at the Global Conference on Economic Geography, June