IT colonialism is a political-economic system of distributing resources, profits and exploitation in the information technology (IT) sphere. The geography and lines of IT colonialism are integrated into the global post-colonial logic. According to its structure, it’s comprised of outsourcing colonialism and investment colonialism.
Outsourcing colonialism is associated with the structural inequality of IT workers in the global production system. To reduce costs, a crucial part of the production involved in the developing, coding and moderation of content is distributed to developing countries. Outsourcing reinforces the dependence of developing countries’ economies on developed countries across economic and labour levels, factoring in cultural assimilation since it requires a single-sided involvement in emotional labour. Outsourced IT economies are characterised by a low level of independence and a high level of political apathy since de facto outsourcing companies depend on the corporate culture of the customer. At the same time, outsourcing colonialism uses existing IT infrastructures or their ruins for the development on which it builds its economy. The unequal distribution of IT labour and their specification worldwide is also related to this.
Investment colonialism is also associated with unequal access to resources. If companies try to develop their product and are not based in a developed country with funding and resource possibilities, in many cases they move there. In such cases, Westernisation of the management personnel occurs, that is, the replacement of local specialists by highly-paid specialists from developed countries in the fields of management and marketing. The most innovative products/start-ups are thus moving to developed countries at the management and corporate levels. In contrast, product development and support continue to benefit from the cheap power of the local, developing world context. (Antonina Stebur)