Summary of Digital Disconnect

How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

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Digital Disconnect book summary
The Internet was a force for freedom – until money came along!


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Robert W. McChesney, author of Rich Media, analyzes the rhetoric around the development of the Internet and points out where web “celebrants and skeptics” agree and disagree. Then he explains that most people, whether they advocate for the web or not, do not understand its relationship to capitalism and the “political economic context” of the Internet revolution. He tries to wave away some of the ideological smokescreen around the way the Internet is progressing societally and economically, and he outlines the way current public policies affecting the web serve corporate interests at the consumers’ expense. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends McChesney’s economic analysis and societal explication as interesting food for thought for futurists, investors, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in cyberculture, the media, democracy, a functioning public sphere, a free press – or even just a faster Internet connection.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What the “political economic context” of the Internet revolution indicates,
  • How capitalism and democracy clash online, and
  • How the Internet helps promote freedom and democracy in the digital world.


The Cybernetic Revolution
The debate over the Internet divides into “celebrants and skeptics.” The celebrants vary on specifics, but unite in claiming that the web will create prosperity, a more equal society, increased leisure and an explosion of scientific discovery due to the ability...
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About the Author

Robert W. McChesney is Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and author of Rich Media.

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