Senior Research Fellow’s book makes final of AAP PROSE Awards

13 February 2023

Professor Vili Lehdonvirta’s book ‘Cloud Empires: How Digital Platforms Are Overtaking the State and How We Can Regain Control’ (MIT Press, 2022) has been announced as a finalist for a 2023 PROSE Award by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

The AAP PROSE Awards, now in their 47th year, honour scholarly works published in 2022. In Cloud Empires, Vili – a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College and digital economy expert – explores the rise of the platform economy into state-like dominance over our lives and proposes a new way forward. The book is nominated for the 2023 PROSE Award for Excellence in the Business, Finance and Management category.


“The 2023 PROSE Award entries considered by our judges illustrate the wide breadth of excellence, diversity, and merit in scholarly works published today, in all areas of academic study,” said Emily Bokelman, Manager of the Member Programs at AAP.

The early Internet was a lawless place, populated by scam artists who made buying or selling anything online risky business. Then Amazon, eBay, Upwork, and Apple established secure digital platforms for selling physical goods, crowdsourcing labor, and downloading apps. These tech giants have gone on to rule the Internet like autocrats. in his book, Vili explores how this happened, and how users and workers became the hapless subjects of online economic empires.

He tells the stories of pioneers who helped create (or resist) the new social order established by digital platform companies, and argues that if we can understand digital platforms for what they are—institutions as powerful as the state— we can then begin the work of democratizing them.

To find out more about ‘Cloud Empires’, click on the publication website here.