From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Feb 26 2006 - 11:35:06 EST
Hi Paul Z, I was thinking about several concurrent developments: 1) the growth of commercial sites on the Net and their increasing importance for commerce, i.e. firms in many branches of production are promoting their commodities on the Net and it has become a major 'shopping place' for consumers in many different markets; 2) getting connected has become more and more a commercial activity; 3) Internet forums and search engines are increasingly tied to commercial ventures. Re the former, note the format of 'yahoo groups' in which there is advertising on each page (also note how those with some yahoo addresses have advertising embedded _in_ their emails); re the latter, note what happened recently when google 'went public' (i.e. offered stocks). 4) It is less possible now than years ago to download songs for free (c.f. IPod) There is, as you say, real democratic potential and practice. I think the emphasis now is far more on potential and that the practice is becoming far less democratic and instead driven by the market. Also ... let us not forget the state, which played the crucial role in the origin of the Net and uses the Net to monitor communications among private parties and in some countries (e.g. China) restrict content for consumers. In solidarity, Jerry > [PZ wrote] What do both of you mean, more precisely? We haven't yet > faced major problems with independent emailing and websites so > there remains a real > democratic potential and practice. > Are you claiming that these avenue will so close? > [Jurriaan wrote] > Generally, Marx believed that capitalism developed human potential in > an inverted or self-contradictory form. Thus, also in communication, the > more it is technically possible to send and receive messages anywhere > around the globe, the more restrictions are imposed on messaging by > commercial principles, and the more communication flows are shaped by > commercial principles. > [JL wrote] While a little bit off-topic, let me add that this view seems > to conform quite well to the experience of the evolution of the Internet.
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