The Information Super-Sewer by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
February 15, 2010

The Internet has become one more tool hijacked by corporate interests to accelerate our cultural, political and economic decline. The great promise of the Internet, to open up dialogue, break down cultural barriers, promote democracy and unleash innovation and creativity, has been exposed as a scam. The Internet is dividing us into antagonistic clans, in which we chant the same slogans and hate the same enemies, while our creative work is handed for free to Web providers who use it as bait for advertising.

Ask journalists, photographers, musicians, cartoonists or artists what they think of the Web. Ask movie and film producers. Ask architects or engineers. The Web efficiently disseminates content, but it does not protect intellectual property rights. Writers and artists are increasingly unable to make a living. And technical professions are under heavy assault. Anything that can be digitized can and is being outsourced to countries such as India and China where wages are miserable and benefits nonexistent. Welcome to the new global serfdom where the only professions that pay a living wage are propaganda and corporate management.


via Truthdig

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig

Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009) and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003).


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5 thoughts on “The Information Super-Sewer by Chris Hedges

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  4. Lanier (like Hedges?) has a Burkian terror of ‘mob rule’. His notion of an inbuilt ‘cognitive switch’ which can reduce a group of individuals to a ravening mob seems endorsed by the author:
    ‘Once we enter the confines of what Lanier calls a clan, even a virtual clan, it possesses dynamics that appeal to the basest instincts within us. Technology evolves but human nature remains constant. The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history because human beings married the newly minted tools of efficient state bureaucracies and industrial slaughter with the dark impulses that have existed since the dawn of the human species.’
    But this appeal to eternal ‘dark impulses’ (human nature as original sin?) is unnecessary. People were manipulated by those supreme individualists — dictators with a cult of personality. They were atomised and denuded of revolutionary organisation. Democratic collectivism is the antithesis of such ‘individualism’, and of mob rule. The internet can enhance it if internet access is free.

  5. Automation is distroying jobs. Wikipedia has an outline of the book “the singularity is near”. I can read the wikipedia entry and skip buying the book. Is this better? yes. Does it hurt people who produce information for a living? yes. Are we going to go forward or backward? The genie is out of the bottle, and open source information is how we organize information.

    This means we need a political revolution that mandates a basic income guarantee. We now have technology tthat can eliminate distribution costs of books, movies, audio and other media. This is good.

    What we need to do is to give people a basic income to live, to buy what is needed so they can create more and a better culture. New works of art are needed not tied to profit and loss.

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