Summary of Digital Capitalism

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Digital Capitalism book summary
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Rating

6

Qualities

  • Analytical
  • Eye Opening
  • Background

Recommendation

Dan Schiller’s book is an exhaustive history and analysis of network deregulation, the Internet, and the emerging global economic order. In this academic work, Schiller examines the social and political issues of the Internet, the new economic landscape. He is, above all, a critic of the political realities that shaped the Internet. He laments its lack of social and "welfarist" features and argues that a system created by market forces to serve market forces can only exacerbate existing inequities. His dry, academic tone still reveals a little emotion, making it clear that Schiller is no cheerleader for the neo-liberal orientation he perceives on the Internet. Is there an overt political slant to the book? You might say that. getabstract recommends it to students of economics, social sciences, and communications, and to anyone else with a good political filter who wants to better understand the Internet’s impact on the global economy, albeit from a U.S. perspective.

About the Author

Dan Schiller  is a Communications Professor at the University of California at San Diego.

 

Summary

Neoliberal Networking

Corporate interests and existing telecommunications entities developed the global network of digital capitalism to serve corporate interests. To create this system, the world’s existing communication networks needed to be radically altered. The dominant philosophy behind digital capitalism is neoliberalism, which says markets and capitalism perform best when unrestricted by governmental oversight and regulation. The liberalization of network regulation began in the 1960s, when computers became an integral part of business.

U.S. communications networks had been highly regulated to insure universal access and to maintain U.S. ownership and control. By the 1960s, corporate forces began to lobby the U.S. government to deregulate communications and computers. They wanted the right to create networks that would best serve corporate aims. Deregulation was viewed as good for U.S. global political and economic power in an increasingly information-based world economy. Advances in network technology included the development of packet switching as opposed to circuit switching, and the standardization of protocols that allowed communication between computers...


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