European Commission calculations show that the corporate income tax paid by meta-platforms is around 9%, compared to 23% for players of the traditional economy. As a result, some countries, including France, are trying to introduce a first layer of turnover taxation, pending a more structured framework within the European Union or the OECD. Nevertheless, the current situation creates asymmetrical power relationships. Indeed, on the one hand, we have these increasingly wealthy companies, which are able to invest in innovation and new services. On the other, we have states, whose share of the revenues generated by the corporate income tax in their total revenues decreases every year, as they struggle both to finance and acquire digital expertise. As a result, the latter are becoming more and more technologically outdated. What is more, digital technologies are also generating a brain drain, as the talents who previously worked in the traditional economy and public institutions now work in these technology companies, thus reinforcing the downgrading of traditional players.
At the local level, the aggregate power of digital companies is such that they are redesigning the social and urban context. In San Francisco, rental prices are estimated to have risen by 75% since 2011, almost exclusively due to the influx of talent required to develop technology companies. This has also had a major impact on the gentrification of an area that now extends over 190 km from San Jose to Sacramento: the price of a nanny, of a hotel room or even of domestic work is often multiplied by two, sometimes three, which has led to the eviction of the working classes. Business key money has rotated significantly, giving way to chic locations for new customers coming from technology companies. On the occasion of the recent election of the San Francisco mayor, a debate emerged around the tech ecosystem’s ability to influence urban policy, which is considered too favorable to these actors. Many tax exemptions and regulatory developments side with technology companies, to the point where groups of voters believe that regulations give too many advantages to these organizations. The new mayor was not spared by this debate, as her election was largely financed by the leaders of the great technology companies.