Information Asymmetry and Power in a Surveillance Society

49 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2014 Last revised: 4 Sep 2014

Geoff Lightfoot

University of Leicester School of Management

Tomasz Piotr Wisniewski

University of Leicester

Date Written: January 22, 2014

Abstract

This paper fuses Lukes’ (1974) three-dimensional view of power with the economic concept of informational asymmetry to explicate how access to information is organized and how power relationships arise from this organization. We argue that many observed asymmetries are deliberate and, drawing from the economics and finance literature, we posit that their outcomes are inevitably detrimental. The paper examines the techniques that foster information imbalances, such as media and propaganda, knowledge production, educational systems, legal and organizational structures, exclusive information networks, and surveillance. We conclude that in the absence of greater transparency, the deleterious effects of unequal access to information will continue and deepen. We further suggest that the analysis of the complexities of the issues warrants a broad, multidisciplinary approach and we suggest what this might include.

Keywords: Information Asymmetry, Power, Surveillance, Secrecy

JEL Classification: G38, I31, O31, Z13

Suggested Citation

Lightfoot, Geoff and Wisniewski, Tomasz Piotr, Information Asymmetry and Power in a Surveillance Society (January 22, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2383166 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2383166

Geoff Lightfoot (Contact Author)

University of Leicester School of Management ( email )

United Kingdom

Tomasz Piotr Wisniewski

University of Leicester ( email )

University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Paper statistics

Downloads
639
Rank
32,084
Abstract Views
3,356