Digital platforms have changed how property is sold and valued in the Global North, yet little is known about digital tools in emerging land markets. Drawing on in situ and digital ethnography, we argue that Facebook plays a key role in making a new kind of market in Myanmar, one in which land is transformed into a speculative asset, exchanged across ever-expanding networks. While commodification is familiar within longer histories of capitalism, this case highlights the significance of digital platforms to the contemporary remaking of property relations. Unlike classic cases of market-making enabled by active state regulation, Myanmar’s digital land markets were forged in the context of state absence by brokers who harnessed the technological affordances of social media to increase the scale, scope and speed of transactions. This creative re-appropriation of the platform forged new, unregulated digital markets that ultimately accumulated corporate profits and intensified participant risk.
- platform capitalism