Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Information Age and the Fascist Threat

All information is expressed through media. Those who control media on a mass scale control what information is accessed and whom may access it.

Throughout human history those in power have had control of the media. Until recently only the elite could read and that elite were usually the priest class whether Brahmans, Jesuits ancient Egyptian priest -scribes, etc. However, at the start of the modern era came the steam powered printing press and this has led to mass literacy and the rise of democracy. The bed-rock of the modern democratic state has been the freedom of press. This freedom guarantees that the agency of government is kept separate from the agency of media with the intended consequence that the literate masses will be able to govern themselves by having unrestricted access to information.

This idea of the freedom of the press has led to thriving democratic nations with people who have been empowered to keep their respective governments in check. However this system is flawed and over the course of the twentyth-century organizations have been quite successful at destroying the foundation of democracy by destroying the competition of a market of ideas through the monopolization of media.

Since the dawn of the Internet the monopoly of media that has been ruling the world for the most part has been severely weakened by the advent of the web-log and other media services such as digg.com and Wikipedia.

The more ubiquitous information and media become the more powerful become those who control the distribution and facilitation of media.

At the present time the birth of global democracy and global dialog leading to a prosperous future for humankind is being threatened by the most powerful organizations on this planet. These organizations are not governments but telecom corporations.

This threat arises because the infrastructure that facilitates the world wide web is owned by these corporations and these corporations understand the kind of power that they could wield if they could convince governments to allow them to wield that power uncontested. Because of these corporation's enormous amount of wealth and influence they are succeeding at doing this.

Whether or not the world wide web can, even in theory, be brought under control is uncertain. However what is certain is that this possibility must be safeguarded against at all cost.

In some countries the government controls the media and in some other countries the media controls the government. What we must seek is a society that nurtures a free market-place of ideas where power is decentralized because neither money nor violence can secure anyone a privileged outlet of media.



27 Comments:

Landlines and satellites can be controlled more easily than wireless terrestrial. Look at pirate radio stations and other quasi-illegal radio activity. With more advanced use of the EM spectrum wireless internet can do a lot. HAM radio internet is workable for some regions. Don't rule out pirate satellites either, with space launch capability coming within reach of non-governments. There's a lot of excess capacity in radio and television broadcasts as well. Internet over power lines is messy but doable. I can see muslim autocrats or Chinese/N.Korean dictators trying to control the internet. Worrying about telecoms etc. seems a bit paranoid.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17/6/06 10:51  

Any concentration of power is a threat to freedom. The reason China can control their Internet (to some extent) is because the Chinese government has a monopoly over their telecommunications infrastructure. My argument is that if any entity can controls the mass media then that entity will have tyrannical power.

By Blogger Micah J. Glasser, at 17/6/06 12:23  

I think once long range wifi (wimax) becomes popular even China will find it hard to contain the tide of information.

The spice must flow!

I also agree that the big media corporations are gradially losing some of their power - especially the ability to spread blatant propaganda. When a big news story breaks often the more interesting reports and commentaries are in the blogosphere.

By Blogger Bob Mottram, at 17/6/06 18:49  

For what reason would Comcast or AT&T want to kill the golden goose? It is OUR freedom that has made them wealthy corporations. Unless and until the US government takes control of the telecoms (like the government of China does) then what is all the worry. Without freedom there is no wealth.

Cuba is dirt poor, North Korea is poorer than that, and Chavez is working on bringing Venezuela into the gutter by stripping freedoms from the corporations and from the people. These places have little to no real freedom.

It is in the best interests of corporations big and small to support freedom and democracy. Am I wrong?

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