RAW quote: a monopoly on communication

Discuss

10 Responses to “RAW quote: a monopoly on communication”

  1. atimoshenko says:

    If you have sufficient means of production, you can always produce alternative means of communication.

    If the means of production are sufficiently monopolised however, a monopoly on the means of communication is the next logical step – propaganda is much more effective when it is the only voice being heard.

    • EvilTerran says:

      “If you have sufficient means of production, you can always produce alternative means of communication.”

      … which can then be undermined in the eyes of the masses by unfounded scandalous claims made by the communications monopolist. Flanked by “unnamed sources say…” or suchlike weasel words to protect from claims of libel if needs be.

      “Tonight on Fox News: Is the Socialist Times funded by radical communist terrorists?”

      • atimoshenko says:

        Ownership of a means of communication means the ability to disseminate whatever it is you want to disseminate. Hence, the less monopolised the means of communication, the greater the possibility that someone somewhere will be disseminating crazy stuff.

        Still no reason to fight for the monopoly over the means of communication for only the people you happen to agree with.

        But back to my original point – if capital is not mostly held in the hands of a few (there is no means of production monopoly) there simply will not a monopoly over the means of communication. There would not be anything the “communications monopolist” would be able to do that you would not be able to do.

  2. Frank W says:

    That’s what SOPA is about, right? Controlling the means of communication. You can’t have the people communiicate amongst themselves, you’ll have anarchy.

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      That’s the way I always took it. It is a pity they have other ways of controlling speech through the education system or else there would be anarchy/ism.

  3. Jonathan Badger says:

    Um, Pynchon kind of covered this way before Wilson. The monopoly of Thurn and Taxis, etc. Once even geeks were supposed to be literary. Hence the references to Pynchon’s Yoyodyne and Trystero in various mailer software.

  4. Klaus Æ. Mogensen says:

    A monopoly on the means of (mass) communication is pretty much what Berlusconi has had in Italy for decades. Not something to aim for…

  5. fnordfnordfnord says:

    This is almost exactly the insight that Antonio Gramsci had in the early 20th century: that the ruling class could prevent an uprising by maintaining cultural hegemony.  So the Marxists figured this one out a while ago.

  6. paul beard says:

    I think Gutenberg had it sorted even before these other worthies, with Luther giving the idea legs. But it’s more potent today in the so-called Information Age where information is a kind of currency. Consider the major argument proffered by libertarians and free marketeers, that informed consumers and a transparent market obviate the need for regulation. Now factor in the reality of consumers who don’t/won’t/can’t think critically, markets that are not transparent, and that sellers have an incentive to be economical with the facts if they will hurt sales. 

    I think it’s a fine idea but if people don’t take advantage of it — do people even read the ingredient lists on the foods they buy or compare prices per oz (sorry, metric readers) to find out that the large jug isn’t cheaper after all, how can we expect it to work in politics or other markets? We saw some uproar about this 7-8 years ago when the FCC relaxed the rules on media ownership and consolidation, allowing more sources of information to be owned by fewer organizations. Perhaps we’ll go from the Internet as a delivery tool (when we had email and ftp, no http yet) to instant publishing on the web and then right back to using it for delivery. Anyone up for a 21st century Federalist Papers, letters and pamphlets emailed point to point for local printing and distribution? And this is without going into the pernicious link between tv advertising and the sad state of our political discourse, where the cost of campaigning has corrupted the possibility of governing by making candidates beholden to big donors rather than their constituents. If you had to raise and average of $20,000/week over 6 years to defend your Senate seat, would you be able to ignore lobbyists or the pressures in your own party caucus? 

  7. paul beard says:

    I think Gutenberg had it sorted even before these other worthies, with Luther giving the idea legs. But it’s more potent today in the so-called Information Age where information is a kind of currency. Consider the major argument proffered by libertarians and free marketeers, that informed consumers and a transparent market obviate the need for regulation. Now factor in the reality of consumers who don’t/won’t/can’t think critically, markets that are not transparent, and that sellers have an incentive to be economical with the facts if they will hurt sales. 

    I think it’s a fine idea but if people don’t take advantage of it — do people even read the ingredient lists on the foods they buy or compare prices per oz (sorry, metric readers) to find out that the large jug isn’t cheaper after all, how can we expect it to work in politics or other markets? 

    We saw some uproar about this 7-8 years ago when the FCC relaxed the rules on media ownership and consolidation, allowing more sources of information to be owned by fewer organizations. Perhaps we’ll go from the Internet as a delivery tool (when we had email and ftp, no http yet) to instant publishing on the web and then right back to using it for delivery. Anyone up for a 21st century Federalist Papers, letters and pamphlets emailed point to point for local printing and distribution? 

    And this is without going into the pernicious link between tv advertising and the sad state of our political discourse, where the cost of campaigning has corrupted the possibility of governing by making candidates beholden to big donors rather than their constituents. If you had to raise and average of $20,000/week over 6 years to defend your Senate seat, would you be able to ignore lobbyists or the pressures in your own party caucus?

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