Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

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New Press, The, Mar 5, 2013 - Computers - 320 pages
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Celebrants and skeptics alike have produced valuable analyses of the Internet's effect on us and our world, oscillating between utopian bliss and dystopian hell. But according to Robert W. McChesney, arguments on both sides fail to address the relationship between economic power and the digital world.

McChesney's award-winning Rich Media, Poor Democracy skewered the assumption that a society drenched in commercial information is a democratic one. In Digital Disconnect McChesney returns to this provocative thesis in light of the advances of the digital age, incorporating capitalism into the heart of his analysis. He argues that the sharp decline in the enforcement of antitrust violations, the increase in patents on digital technology and proprietary systems, and other policies and massive indirect subsidies have made the Internet a place of numbing commercialism. A small handful of monopolies now dominate the political economy, from Google, which garners an astonishing 97 percent share of the mobile search market, to Microsoft, whose operating system is used by over 90 percent of the world's computers. This capitalistic colonization of the Internet has spurred the collapse of credible journalism, and made the Internet an unparalleled apparatus for government and corporate surveillance, and a disturbingly anti-democratic force.

In Digital Disconnect Robert McChesney offers a groundbreaking analysis and critique of the Internet, urging us to reclaim the democratizing potential of the digital revolution while we still can.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aoxford - LibraryThing

"The grand irony of the internet," McChesney writes on page 191, "is that what was once regarded as an agent of diversity, choice and competition has become an agent of monopoly." In such moments, the ... Read full review

DIGITAL DISCONNECT: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

User Review  - Kirkus

A provocative and far-reaching account of how capitalism has shaped the Internet in the United States.Writing from a liberal viewpoint, McChesney (Communication/Univ. of Illinois; Communication ... Read full review


List of Illustrations
What Is the Elephant in the Digital Room?
Does Capitalism Equal Democracy?
How Can the Political Economy of Communication Help Us Understand
Where Dinosaurs Roam?
Empire of the Senseless?
Journalism Is Dead Long LiveJournalism?
Revolution in the Digital Revolution?

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About the author (2013)

Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of several books on the media, including the award-winning Rich Media, Poor Democracy; Communication Revolution; and a co-editor (with Victor Pickard) of Will the Last Reporter Turn Out the Lights. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

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