Capitalism and the Information Age: The Political Economy of the Global Communication Revolution

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9780853459897: Capitalism and the Information Age: The Political Economy of the Global Communication Revolution
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Are the new technologies of the information age reshaping the labor force, transforming communications, changing the potential of democracy, and altering the course of history itself? Capitalism and the Information Age presents a rigorous examination of some of the most crucial problems and possibilities of these novel technologies.

Not a day goes by that we don't see a news clip, hear a radio report, or read an article heralding the miraculous new technologies of the information age. The communication revolution associated with these technologies is often heralded as the key to a new age of "globalization." How is all of this reshaping the labor force, transforming communications, changing the potential of democracy, and altering the course of history itself? Capitalism and the Information Age presents a rigorous examination of some of the most crucial problems and possibilities of these novel technologies.

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About the Author:

Robert W. McChesney is professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy and Our Media, Not Theirs, and co-editor of Monthly Review.



Ellen Meiksins Wood is co-editor of Monthly Review; author of many books, including The Pristine Culture of Capitalism (1991) and Democracy Against Capitalism (1995); and co-editor of In Defense of History (1995).



John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review. He is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and author of The Ecological Revolution, The Great Financial Crisis (with Fred Magdoff), Critique of Intelligent Design (with Brett Clark and Richard York), Ecology Against Capitalism, Marx’s Ecology, and The Vulnerable Planet.

Review:

From the Industrial Revolution to the "Electronic Republic," capitalism is on a wild ride of instant, computer-generated growth. Among all the factors that impact capitalism, the dramatic revolution in electronic communications has the widest, quickest, and most far-reaching influence. With such unrestrained technological development, the Information Age has produced both good and evil, and this collection of fourteen critical essays looks at the issue from different perspectives. The contributors include scholars, political activists, journalists, sociologists, and computer experts, all men and women prominent in their fields. Among the subjects discussed, essays include topics like the globalization of economics, communications and the politics of education, neoliberalism in cyberspace, propaganda, and socialist self-management of technology. This is pretty heavy stuff, full of scholarly prose, cyber-jargon, and mass media lingo, and clearly targeted towards a narrow audience. All agree that communication technology, especially computers, has become an indispensable part of today's capitalism and global economy, but then opinions differ on the price we pay for this advancement. The question arises over the legitimacy of ownership and control of global mass media, with grave concern over the possibility of a global oligopolistic corner on the market. Have computers and television created a captive audience ripe for propaganda manipulation? Some pundits believe that the Information Age has actually shifted economic power from institutions to individuals, while others suggest just the opposite is occurring, disenfranchising millions of people and increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. Certainly provocative, this book asks many questions, but offers few answers. -- From Independent Publisher

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