Cyberlibertarian Myths and the Prospects for Community

I regret that the call for alternative ways of imagining a computer-centered, digitally infused society went largely unheeded.  Then as now this realm of activity tacitly worships a philosophy of technological determinism: Technology relentlessly "advances."  Society adapts, taking on the imprint of the latest varieties of hardware and software.  Rumors about the "social shaping" of key parts and pieces of the ensemble comprise the favorite cover story that obscures what everyone eventually accepts as necessary.  Among the obvious consequences of this dynamic process have been a massive redistribution wealth to the top 1%; a ghastly widening economic and social inequality; collapse of any widely shared sense of the common good; the steady erosion of democracy in charting the nation's future.  The piece was published in Computers and Society, 1997, 27(3), 14-19.]

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Facing the Plague: Economic and Political Inequality

Hopes for the future of democracy must now confront a basic power shift that has emerged since the early 1970s and is now reaching its advanced stages.   This shift in control over key decisions and policies is clearly visible in my own country, the U.S.A., but is evident in many other nations as well.  At stake is a seemingly ineluctable transfer of power from national governments to the transnational firms; from elected officials to directors of large banks, hedge funds, and global firms; from citizens to plutocrats; from democracy to corporatocracy.

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