14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A disappointing failure to achieve an important objective.,
This review is from: Netocracy: The New Power Elite and Life after Capitalism (Paperback)This book is seriously disappointing.
I share the authors' frustration at the levels of public debate about the so-called digital future - much of it, as they say, characterised by "ignorance and childishness". Like them, I am tired of "the intoxicated optimists" and "the gloomy pessimists". Current developments in information technology and, in particular, their impact on society are of great importance. They merit the disciplined analysis that the blurb suggests the book will provide: "Digging deeper and wider than any previous effort into what the information revolution really means..." But it fails to deliver what it promises.
What we get instead is a book that is itself ignorant in its review of the historical antecedents of modern society and childish in its treatment of how information technology is changing the world: long on assertion but short on analysis, and curiously obsessed with class war and status. Perhaps I should have been warned by the title: "Netocracy" - rather too often, strange made-up words (and this book is stuffed with them) herald woolly thinking. But when, only a few pages into the Introduction, up came the dreaded "paradigm shift", I suspected trouble. And I got it.
The book's central and simplistic assertion is this: just as the feudal system, where the aristocracy had power over the peasants, was ousted (in a paradigm shift) by the capitalist system where the bourgeoisie had power over the proletariat, so (in another paradigm shift) the capitalist system is today being ousted by the "informationalist" system where the "netocracy" has power over the "consumtariat". And, surprise, we are told that the new elite, the "netocrats", are those who, rather like our authors, have good communication and social skills, are media-savvy and know how to network, how to distinguish useful information from nonsense, how to overcome "outdated individualism" and how to manipulate the poor old consumtariat.
Media-focused networkers undoubtedly have great influence in Western society. And it may well be growing. But, if they are as muddled as are the authors of this book, the assertion that they are becoming the new power elite is a serious case of wishful thinking. Dream on.