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“It would take a lot of Dassault Systemes to make Europe live in digital”

Technological America dominates a world of “platforms”, which profoundly disrupts all sectors. China is the only real competitor of the United States. Europe, it is the big loser of this new deal, says Philippe Escande, economic editorialist in the “World”.

Emmanuel Macron at the European Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia, in September 2017.

Economic crises, like all earthquakes, announce, at once, the end of one world and the beginning of another. The crisis of 1929 had symbolized the shift in the Fordist era of large factories and mass consumption. That of 2008 brought us into the digital age. In the same year that the US investment banks Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch went down, Apple invented the smartphone and its applications, which would put the infinite wealth of the Internet in every pocket. Not only for information or entertainment, but also to move, buy, find work, friends, housing. In 2009 was created Uber and Airbnb, Facebook was only four years old and the Chinese did not yet know WeChat, the mail to the billion subscribers.

As in 1929, finance played a dual role. By making money easy, it has enabled the development of this new sector on a global scale, but it has also masked social and economic tensions, by distributing its credits without restraint. The dust of this crisis dissipated, a very different society emerges. Technological America took the opportunity to establish its domination of a world of “platforms”, which profoundly disrupt all sectors. Google and Tesla jostle the auto industry, Amazon destroys the traditional trade, Netflix the world of cinema.

Europe, the big loser

Initiators of the crisis, Americans have to contend with a refugee opinion in populism and who is wary of the giants of Silicon Valley. China has become, thanks to the digital, the equal and the only true competitor of the United States. Europe is the big loser of this new deal. It can boast only one consumer Internet platform, Spotify, the Swedish online music app. Two exceptions emerge, the German SAP and its business management software.

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