You Say You Want a Revolution: A Story of Information Age Politics

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Yale University Press, 2000 - Computers - 238 pages
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This book is a unique account of the way politics has shaped the information age in America. Reed E. Hundt, chairman from 1993 to 1997 of the Federal Communications Commission, the nation’s chief regulatory agency for media and communications industries, tells of the battles for political advantage that lie behind the enormous creation of wealth and social changes that are generally called the “New Economy.” The central theme of the narrative is the surprising passage and fascinating implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which authorized the Federal Communications Commission to replace monopoly with competition and to guarantee access to the Internet to all Americans, including every child in every classroom.

Depending on the leadership of his high school classmate Al Gore and finding unexpected allies in the ranks of free market ideologues, Hundt led the FCC to make the decisions that helped start a wave of entrepreneurship, which in turn has given the United States the world’s leading Internet economy. As the memoir shows, every decision involved prodigious political battles—between existing industries and start-ups, between Newt Gingrich and the Clinton-Gore White House, between inside-the-Beltway lobbyists and the new grassroots advocacy of e-mails, between the politics of money and the politics of ideas. In the same period, the often ignored and historically maligned FCC was the place where government decided whether to undertake the largest national initiative to reform K–12 education in the country’s history: the program to connect every classroom to the Internet by the year 2001.

Hundt’s report from the political battlefield offers significant insight into the motives and personality not only of Al Gore but other prominent figures in political life, as well as many of the media moguls of our time. Told with great energy and wit, it is a tale that inspires both concern for and confidence in our democracy in the information age.

 

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Contents

Coincidence July 1992November 1993
3
Cockiness Goeth Before November 1993January 1994
18
On the Chin February 1994 April 1994
33
Learning the Ropes April 1994July 1994
49
On a Roll July 1994October 1994
63
CHANGES AND CHOICES
79
On the Floor November 1994February 1995
81
Finding a Way March 1995September 1995
102
Politics Matters October 1995January 1996
130
REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE
149
Chance of a Lifetime February 1996 May 1996
151
Help June 1996October 1996
176
Elections Matter November 1996April 1997
201
Exit and Outcomes May 1997November 1997
213
Index
227
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About the author (2000)

Reed E. Hundt is senior adviser at McKinsey & Co., an international business management consulting firm. He also teaches at Columbia University’s business and law schools and at Yale Law School and Yale School of Management.

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