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The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate The World Paperback – 5 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014104957X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141049571
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Evgeny Morozov offers a rare note of wisdom and common sense, on an issue overwhelmed by digital utopians (MALCOLM GLADWELL)

Gleefully iconoclastic ... not just unfailingly readable: it is also a provocative, enlightening and welcome riposte to the cyber-utopian worldview. (The Economist)

A delight ... his demolition job on the embarrassments of "internet freedom" is comprehensive ... as we go down the rabbit-hole of WikiLeaks, Morozov's humane and rational lantern will help us land without breaking our legs. (Pat Kane The Independent)

A passionate and heavily researched account of the case against the cyber-utopians ... only by becoming "cyber-realists" can we hope to make humane and effective policy. (Bryan Appleyard New Statesman)

Evgeny Morozov is wonderfully knowledgeable about the Internet-he seems to have studied every use of it, or every political use, in every country in the world (and to have read all the posts). And he is wonderfully sophisticated and tough-minded about politics. This is a rare combination, and it makes for a powerful argument against the latest versions of technological romanticism. His book should be required reading for every political activist who hopes to change the world on the Internet. (Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)

The Net Delusion is considerably more than an assault on political rhetoric ... a war against complacency. (Tom Chatfield Observer)

Required reading for all ... a compelling primer and rebuff to the "cyber utopians" ... trenchant and persuasive. (John Kampfner Sunday Times)

Lively and combative ... dauntingly well-informed ... injects a welcome dose of common sense into an issue that has been absurdly lacking in it. (John Preston Sunday Telegraph)

Piercing...convincing...timely. (Ben Hammersley Financial Times)

[M]ore than rewards a respectful reading, not only for the author's impressive knowledge of the internet toolbox...but because of his ability to relate such technological gadgetry to the increasing challenges that are being posed to entrenched authoritarianism (James M Murphy Times Literary Supplement)

Selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 (New York Times)

About the Author

Evgeny Morozov is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy and runs the magazine's influential and widely-quoted 'Net Effect' blog about the Internet's impact on global politics (neteffect.foreignpolicy.com). Morozov is currently a Yahoo! fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Evgeny Morozov's `The Net Delusion' is an informative and wide-ranging essay on the growth and increasing power of the internet as an agency of global change, with some less than optimistic conclusions. Taking as a start-point the way in which political-interest websites and blogs have been created by dissidents in an attempt to organise and focus opposition to less democratic regimes such as those in China, Iran and elsewhere, he broadens out his thesis to examine ways in which entrenched political interests have started to use the most successful spin-offs of the new technologies (facebook, twitter) to identify, keep track of and arrest dissenters; and that these developments of internet technologies now enable the exercise of a degree of social control far greater than was previously possible.

The author knows his subject, and utilises plentiful and relevant citations from the enormous academic bibliography listed in the index to support his argument. It is recognised that people the world over seek entertainment and frivolity from the net far more often than they engage in political or philosophical discourse; extrapolating from this data Morozov makes a convincing case that the new technologies may therefore be exploited as a more insidious agency of social control and management. He compares the 1948 totalitarian vision of Orwell's Stalinist surveillance society in `1984' with Huxley's earlier but far more seductive and ultimately more accurate vision of the future in `Brave New World' where the status quo is maintained by giving people what they want and keeping them happy on the farm.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jezza on 28 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Morozov is great on puncturing the absurd technological determinism and misplaced optimism of what he calls cyber-utopians, and he makes some important distinctions between those who advocated 'freedom for the internet' and 'freedom via the internet'.

But he seems to take it for granted that we know who the 'baddies' are and what is wrong with them - so much so that he doesn't need to define what he means by either democratic or authoritarian regimes. The book is a critique of the idea that internet tools like Facebook and Twitter are inherently pro-democratic...yet there is no discussion as to what is meant by democracy. Is Putin's Russia a democracy? Well, they have elections, don't they? And if it isn't, what exactly makes Berlusconi's Italy different? Or even Britain, with its flawed electoral system and ludicrous campaign finance rules? Can Twitter help to bring freedom to Italy, or to Britain?

This is very much a contribution to a discussion within the Washington Beltway, albeit from someone who is pretty much an outsider. There doesn't seem to be any understanding that there might be a difference on goals, not just on means, or that someone who considers themselves a democrat would pick say Hugo Chavez (who seems to be lumped in with the authoritarians) over Berlusconi or Blair.

Worth reading for the discussions about technology and technological determinism, but take the politics with a dash of salt.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Diziet on 13 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Growing up in Belarus and then living in the US, Mr Morozov has had opportunities to view the Internet from 'both sides'. He has seen at first hand both authoritarian attempts at controlling the spread of the Internet and libertarian attempts at maintaining the Internet's growth throughout the world.

This experience has allowed him to develop some useful views. He contrasts attitudes to the Internet basically between 'cyber-utopians' and 'cyber-cons'. The former he defines as those who have:

'...a quasi-religious belief in the power of the Internet to do supernatural things, from eradicating illiteracy in Africa to organizing all of the world's information...Opening up closed societies and flushing them with democracy juice until they shed off their authoritarian skin is just one of the expectations placed on the Internet these days.' (P19)

On the other hand, there are the 'cyber-cons' (an on-line version of neo-conservatives) who still view the world from an essentially Cold War perspective. Thus, they are bound by cold-war metaphors. But, as he points out:

'Breaching a powerful firewall is in no way similar to the breaching of the Berlin Wall or the lifting of passport controls at Checkpoint Charlie...[T]he cyber-wall metaphor falsely suggests that once digital barriers are removed, new and completely different barriers won't spring up in their place' (P44-45)

Between these two extremes, which overlap and inform each other, he analyses the effects of Twitter, Facebook, mobile telephony and the growing belief that all dissidents have to do is set up a Facebook page and the revolution will miraculously occur.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Evgeny Morozov's `The Net Delusion' is an informative and wide-ranging essay on the growth and increasing power of the internet as an agency of global change, with some less than optimistic conclusions. Taking as a start-point the way in which political-interest websites and blogs have been created by dissidents in an attempt to organise and focus opposition to less democratic regimes such as those in China, Iran and elsewhere, he broadens out his thesis to examine ways in which entrenched political interests have started to use the most successful spin-offs of the new technologies (facebook, twitter) to identify, keep track of and arrest dissenters; and that these developments of internet technologies now enable the exercise of a degree of social control far greater than was previously possible.

The author knows his subject, and utilises plentiful and relevant citations from the enormous academic bibliography listed in the index to support his argument. It is recognised that people the world over seek entertainment and frivolity from the net far more often than they engage in political or philosophical discourse; extrapolating from this data Morozov makes a convincing case that the new technologies may therefore be exploited as a more insidious agency of social control and management. He compares the 1948 totalitarian vision of Orwell's Stalinist surveillance society in `1984' with Huxley's earlier but far more seductive and ultimately more accurate vision of the future in `Brave New World' where the status quo is maintained by giving people what they want and keeping them happy on the farm.
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