|John Hopkins on Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:13:35 +0200 (CEST)|
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|Re: <nettime> automated digest [x2: griffis, gurstein]|
Very, very prescient of McLuhan but his otherwise extremely insightful analysis missed one element--the political economic context into which these technology induced changes would be introduced and which would both influence and be influenced by.
Michael a few comments/observations/musings -- I wouldn't use the term 'induced' -- in our context, as we are still very much immersed/part of the post-WWII military-industrial-academic complex, the political-economic dimensions (changes) are not being altered by induction, the entire structure of that MIA-complex is what the power relations are constructed on/from to begin with. [Induction is a concept about energy-transfer precipitating 'at a distance' between two otherwise disconnected systems.] Of course those power relations do evolve, and the MIA complex is not the only actor, given the power shifts of globalization. (Do we include the Army of the People's Republic of China and the entire mining/manufacturing/feeding regime that is integral to it as part of it? SURE!) The gist of the conversation here has isolated the 'digital' & IT from the larger context of power structures and relations that it is still completely embedded within. To make an IT device requires machines, big machines, machines in the Industrial Revolution sense, and it requires numerous layers of those -- ever driven a 250-ton dump truck operating in a gold mine; ever bucked 10-inch pipe on a rotary-drilling platform on an oil rig? All these machines (and their operators) are part of a political/economic power structure that undergirds/immerses this IT sector (and it's expression of political/economics) that we speak about here in the isolated abstract. To ignore the political economics of ALL that wider system is to have a very unbalanced analysis of the overall set of human power relations (politics!) that drive our global techno-social system. What you call a 'new stage' is only a slight quantitative alteration in the relation between power expression and the feedback (surveillance, data gathering, data mining) that is/has been necessary to control the willing/unwilling participants in the system. It is clear that as feedback increases asymptotically that the system experiences a form of internal sclerosis (Vaclav Havel wrote about this in "The Power of the Powerless" in 1985, and the East German 'Stasi' state is a good example). Sclerosis usually ends with the death of the organism. IMHO, none of the power relations in this techno-social system have anything to do with democracy. And especially these days, it is no wonder that there would be an "existential crisis, for Western democracies and their camp followers." Unfortunately I think that this crisis arises out of a general ignorance of the 'real' power relations that, again, arise from the fundamental structures of the MIA and that all our relations (even here on 'nettime') are predicated on. Cheers, JH -- ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD grounded on a granite batholith twitter: @neoscenes http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: firstname.lastname@example.org