Net Effect

The Internet: A room of our own?

I’ve got a long essay about the Internet & democracy in the summer issue of Dissent. Here’s an excerpt Cyberspace politics is a zero-sum game; although Internet technology has certainly decreased the power of the nation-state—much as hunpowder or the printing press did in earlier stages of history—it has also empowered those whom we wouldn’t ...

I’ve got a long essay about the Internet & democracy in the summer issue of Dissent. Here’s an excerpt

Cyberspace politics is a zero-sum game; although Internet technology has certainly decreased the power of the nation-state—much as hunpowder or the printing press did in earlier stages of history—it has also empowered those whom we wouldn’t necessarily list as “friends of civil society” (once again, analogies with gunpowder and the printing press, and their heavy use by extremist and militaristic organizations, are worth reflecting on). So, if we are ultimately concerned with limiting the power of the state—and when it comes to countries like China and Russia, our concerns are well justified—the Internet’s impact has been very positive. However, this is only one part of a much larger picture; the pernicious influence of the nation-state has often been replaced in cyberspace by a host of decentralized, uncontrollable, and ultimately more dangerous elements. They have not only survived into the cyber age; they seem to prosper in it.

Unfortunately, it’s available only to subscribers of Dissent. However, a fair use PDF of the article is available from our own web-site (not sure for how long). 

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