Digital Ecosystems: Two-Faced Janus of the National State

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-3-15-22
Lomonosov Moscow State University (Faculty of Economics), 1, Bldg. 46, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation.

Received 28.10.2023. Revised 08.11.2023. Accepted 25.12.2023.

Abstract. Economic security of the national state is traditionally considered to be implemented only at macro level of the national economy. However, a new reality of the XXI era has shown that the key aspects of the national security are being arisen at micro level of economic activity. Innovations have created not only new factors for prosperity but given birth to specific risks and novel threats for the national state. Digital ecosystems (DESs) that have just come to light have been generating a host of state threatening consequences. Nowadays most if not all of the largest world companies are parts of digital ecosystems. Market capitalization, total sales and total business operations of the digital ecosystems equal or even exceed the gross domestic product of many independent states. A typical profile of a digital ecosystem comprises such characteristics as self-regulation and independent business; vague industry and geographic frontiers; absence of clear inner structural elements within the firm; absence or minimization of material (brick-and-stone) assets. The services of the digital ecosystems lie in a variety of highly different production, transportation, market, and after-market spheres including finance and logistics. The intangible power of DESs is based on ICT technology, e. g., M2M and IoT, which could work in an autonomous regime even off Wi-Fi areas. Cloud computing, fog computing and edge computing allow to storage and manipulate big data over the firms’ boundaries and stay off the government control. Although M2M interactions are good for telemedicine, industrial security, payment systems, etc., smart digital activity of DESs might be harmful for national economic security. Firstly, as digital ecosystems are collecting huge amount of private data, they have access to more subtle behavioral aspects of individuals than government offices. Using their private databases, DESs could influence clients in both economic and political areas. Secondly, digital cartels could implement brand-new types of price discrimination which are out of government regulations. Dynamic pricing in both sides of the digital platforms (for content providers and for consumers) could add to national inflation rates. Thirdly, information that is used to elaborate and implement government economic policy could be easily manipulated within DESs due to low quality of IT operators or because of hacker-driven misinformation. It means that the critically important statistics are in fact in the hands of the digital ecosystems, which have been transforming into tacit co-partners of government economic and social policy. In social sphere DESs have introduced a special business model, that is, worker-on-demand. Like video on demand or car sharing, employees can be hired temporarily with no labour contracts, no social security plans, no any feasible limitations on time, place, and conditions of work. Quantity of labour force, level of wages, and other important elements of working life are in the hands of algorithmic management, a special IT program elaborated by DESs’ specialists in the interests of the DESs. Such practices of labour market undermine the government social policy and increase social tensions. Digital ecosystems have changed labour resources in the direction of cyber wars. In order to defense their own infrastructure and virtual space of their activity, DESs are in the process of establishing their own cyber-army. The DES employees usually act as potential (and actual sometimes) cyber-worriers in detecting and eliminating unsanctioned penetration in digital nets of the company. The problems of digital ecosystems having too much economic power are being under consideration in many countries. For example, in China in 2021 the government replaced its former liberal IT policy for tight IT regulation of DESs. Thus, thinking about national economic security, we should take into account a new digital reality in forms of digital ecosystems and their desire (consciously or unconsciously) to substitute national state in its significant economic and social functions.

Keywords: digital economy, digital ecosystems, digitalisation, economic security, national security, virtual economy, cyberspace, digital insecurity


1. Corrado C., Haskel J., Jona-Lasinio C., Ionni M. Intangible Capital and Modern Economies. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2022, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 3-28.

2. Vereshchagina E.A., Kapetskyi I.O., Yarmonov A.S. Problems of Internet of Things Security. Moscow, Mir Nayki, 2021. 105 p. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 25.12.2023).

3. Manaknova A.A. Corporate Security as a Component of Russian National Security. The International Affairs, 2020, no. 4, pp. 58-65. (In Russ.)

4. Williams D. Power Accrues to the Powerful: Amazon’s Market Share, Customer Surveillance, and Internet Dominance. Alimahomed-Wilson J., Reese E., eds. Amazon in the Global Economy. London, Pluto Press, 2020, pp. 35-49.

5. Raymond M. Cyber Entanglement and the Stability of the Contemporary Rules-Based Global Order. Chesney R., Shires J., Smeets M., eds. Cyberspace and Instability. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2023, pp. 217-239.

6. Alpaydin E. Machine Learning. The New AI. Cambridge, MIT Press, 2016. 616 p.

7. Shalin A.P. Content Security and Content Regulation. Vestnik Vysshey Shkoly Alma Mater, 2021, no. 4, pp. 110-118. (In Russ.) Available at: 

8. Beschorner N. The Digital Economy in South-East Asia. Findlay C., Tangkitvanich S., eds. New Dimensions of Connectivity in the Asia-Pacific. Canberra, ANU Press, 2021, pp. 121-156.

9. Spilda F., Howson K., Johnston H., Bertolini A., Feuerstein P., Bezuidenhout L., Alyanak O., Graham M. Is Anonymity Dead? Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation, 2022, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 72-87. Available at: 

10. Bauer M., Hosik L., van der Marel E., Verschelde B. The Costs of Data Localisation: Friendly Fire on Economic Recovery. ECIPE Occasional Paper, 2014, no. 3. 19 p.

11. Ovcharov A.V. Protection of Competition as a Necessary Condition for Ensuring Economic Security. State and Law, 2023, no. 6, pp. 117-126. (In Russ.) Available at: 

12. Aubouin M. Determinants of the Digital Divide. Annals of Economics and Statistics, September 2023, no. 151, pp. 37-80.

13. Bayboboeva F. On Factors Threatening the Economic Security of Light Industry Enterprises. Society and Economy, 2023, no. 7, pp. 99-105. (In Russ.) Available at: 

14. Garsaa A., Paulet E. ESG Disclosure and Employee Turnover. New Evidence from Listed European Companies. Relations Industrielles / Industrial Relations, 2022, vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 1-22. Available at: (accessed 25.12.2023).

15. Anstis S., Barnett S., Chan S., Leonard N., Deibert R. The Negative Externalities of Cyberspace Insecurity and Instability for Civil Society. Chesney R., Shires J., Smeets M., eds. Cyberspace and Instability. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2023, pp. 240-277.

16. Kim K.-P. The Neoliberal Strategy of South Korean Conglomerates. World Review of Political Economy, 2022, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 97-117. Available at: (accessed 25.12.2023).

17. Smirnov A.I., Isaeva T.A. International Security: Challenges and Risks of Artificial Intelligence Technologies. The International Affairs, 2023, no. 8, pp. 94-107. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 25.12.2023).

18. Sudmann A. Artificial Neural Networks, Postdigital Infrastructures and the Politics of Temporality. Volmar A., Stine K., eds. Essays on Hardwired Temporalities. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2021, pp. 279-294.

19. Amorim H., Moda F. Work by App: Algorithmic Management and Working Conditions of Uber Drivers in Brazil. Work Organization, Labour & Globalisation, 2020, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 101-118.

20. Leonardi E., Pirina G. Uber in the Portuguese Gig Economy: a Laboratory for Platform Capitalism. Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation, 2020, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 46-63.

21. Levermann T. Wie Algorithmen eine Kultur der Digitalitaet Konstituiren. Journal fur Korporative Kommunikation, 2018, vol. 2, pp. 31-42.

22. Goods C., Veen A., Barratt T. Is Your Gig Any Good? Analysing Job Quality in the Australian Platform-Based Food Delivery Sector. Journal of Industrial Relations, 2019, vol. 61, no. 4, pp. 502-527. Available at: 

23. Schreyer J. Algorithmic Work Coordination and Workers’ Voice in the COVID‑19 Pandemic: The Case of Foodora/Lieferando. Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation, 2021, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 69-84.

24. Tassinari A., Maccarrone V. Riders on the Storm: Workplace Solidarity among Gig Economy Couriers in Italy and the UK. Work, Employment & Society, 2020, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 35-54.

25. Marrone M., Finotto V. Challenging Goliath Informal Unionism and Digital Platforms in the Food Delivery Sector the Case of Riders Union Bologna. The Open Journal of Sociopolitical Studies, 2019, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 691-716.

26. Degner A., Kocher E. Arbeitskampfe in der Gig Economy? Kritische Justiz, 2018, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 247-265.

27. Brambilla I., Cesar A., Falcone G., Gasparini L., Lombardo C. The Asymmetric Risks of Automations in Latin America. Desarrollo Economico, 2022, vol. 62, no. 235, pp. 234-253. Available at: (accessed 25.12.2023).

28. Parfenov D.A. Development of Mechanism for Economic Security in Russia under Digitalization. Moscow University Bulletin. Series 21. Public Administration, 2020, no. 4, pp. 106-122. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 25.12.2023).

29. Porokhovsky A.A. American Economy Market Mechanism: Digitalisation Impact. USA & Canada: Economics–Politics–Culture, 2020, vol. 50, no. 5, pp. 24-38. (In Russ.) Available at:

30. Belyaev I.I., Larionov A.V., Silvestrov S.N. Assessment of the State of Economic Security in Russia Using the Example of the Unemployment Rate Indicator: Fractal Analysis Method. Studies on Russian Economic Development, 2021, no. 2, pp. 34-42. (In Russ.) Available at:

31. Kapkanshchikov S.B. Excessive Income Inequality in Russia as a Threat to Economic Growth and Societal Security. Society and Economics, 2023, no. 1, pp. 37-62. (In Russ.) Available at:

32. Slayton R. (De)Stabilizing Cyber Warriors: The Emergence of US Military Cyber Expertise, 1967–2018. Chesney R., Shires J., Smeets M., eds. Cyberspace and Instability. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2023, pp. 177-213.

33. Chesney R., Shires J., Smeets M. Introduction: Rethinking (In)stability in and of Cyberspace. Chesney R., Shires J., Smeets M., eds. Cyberspace and Instability. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2023, pp. 1-17.

34. Yiping Huang. The Platform Economy in China: Innovation and Regulation. Ligang Song, Yixiao Zhou, eds. China’s Transition to a New Phase of Development, Canberra, ANU Press, 2022, pp. 73-87. Available at:

35. Tulupov A.S. National Security Model: General Approaches and Construction Issues. Moscow University Economics Bulletin, 2023, no. 3, pp. 181-192. (In Russ.) Available at:


1. Berg Insight. Available at: (accessed 22.10.2023).

2. ABI Research. Available at: (accessed 20.10.2023).

3. M2M и IoT – ключевые технологии для современного бизнеса и потребительского рынка. Хабр, 21.01.2021.

M2M and IoT are the Key Technologies for Contemporary Business and Consumer Market. Habr, 21.01.2021. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 28.10.2023).

4. TAdviser Platform. Available at: (accessed 21.10.2023).

5. Global Networking Trends Report. Cisco, 2023, pp. 1-22. Available at: (accessed 20.10.2023).

6. Digital Economy: 2023. A Brief Statistical Issue. Moscow, HSE University, 2023. 120 p. (In Russ.)

For citation:
Rozanova N. Digital Ecosystems: Two-Faced Janus of the National State. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 15-22. EDN: YYFMJG

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 6
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The “Pivot to Asia”: AUKUS in the Perception of American Politicum
  • The Collapse of the European Collective Security System
  • Public Investment and Sustainability of World Economy
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Proportions and Factors of Development
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.