Saturday, January 05, 2008
The 20th century goes down in human history as a period of wars and revolutions. One such revolution is technological in aspect, with several scientific applications used to invent electronic media. Many of these media were intended to disseminate information mostly by governments and the elite. Capitalists made lots of money when they reproduced these media for public consumption. Soon, an opposite trend developed and the capitalist globalization was met with a movement eager for accessible communication and information rather than the generation of profits.
These clashing globalizing movements had their respective tools for advancement. For the capitalists with care for global capitalist markets, data networks were developed in order to deliver to those who can afford from among the billions of people they are servicing. These data networks are composed of well-secured information infrastructure which may be transmitted in a matter of millisecond. With strict codes through which top secrets may be exchanged between data networks, it is the one privacy in the middle of a progressively borderless world.
On the other side, the socialists moved toward using high technology access in an increasingly popular mode. E-mails were used in the academic communities, hackers exploited a technology to their advantage, social activists linked beyond their areas of concern to trade experiences, political activists used this technology for organizing, researchers limited distance as disciplines reached global scales. And their technological weapon? An array of network that united e-mail interconnectivity with the Internet technology.
These movements manifested that the globe was on the brink of a worldwide data network that allowed not only millions but billions of persons to trade information across the world in a few clicks. The capitalists envisioned an economic opportunity that the commodification of this technological networking can generate: a dependence to global information. Meanwhile, the socialists envisioned a convenience out of making the new technology functional in such a manner as easing the increasing complication of the near future. While the capitalist vision was clear and well-financed, the socialist vision was unclear, and solely funded by accident. With this capitalist-socialist binary, only one main global network can be granted space. After the clash of these visions, the Internet emerged triumphant and the commercial information network had to give way to the clamor of the masses.
This triumph can be understood with the developmental history of the Internet. When the Russians successfully launched their first space satellite, the panicking Americans invested tremendously on academic research for military purposes. This undertaking would spawn the Internet, which was intended to cut expenses by requiring a network of computer systems that allowed for exchange of information. The fear of being effaced by the Russians led to the birthing of the Internet.
From this military origin, the Internet grew so useful to research that engineers worked to establish the Internet for public good, resulting to a network of millions of people across the globe, primarily receiving non-commercial form of consumption such as e-mail, chatting, information exchange, among others. This success resulted to the capitalist concern of making Internet profitable since the Internet is successful in becoming useful to the increasing human population getting free e-mail services, convenient file sharing and the like. Global investments on telephone and personal computers, Internet’s bare essentials, ended on a dramatic failure after the data communications industry divorced itself from consumerist concerns due to the emergent mass market’s unsurprising quest for free access.
Capitalist corporations may have been accurate in predicting a radical change in global communication but their investment on it ended on an epic disaster. The Internet won by virtue of its network fit for e-mail and free information retrieval from the World Wide Web. There are no security or billing requirements, and the Internet-savvy have the potential to publish without the standards of a patent. The capitalists’ disaster owes from the key problem of how their technological developments can be turned into surpluses. Instead of continuously earning profits from these modern production methods, they only opened a way to the cheapening of production prices. They failed to secure a competitive advantage from their improved technologies since the Internet is so open, its standards and principles so common and its navigation so easy that corporations find it hard to benefit from the network. In spite of capitalists, the Internet gives the benefit of widely available information, reduced difficulty in buying, marketing and distribution, and alleviated business transactions.
The Internet as the current world recognizes it provides a wide array of possibilities. For instance, listing a URL anywhere being covered by media mileage makes it easy for anybody to know where to search for additional information or who or where to contact. E-mail, cyber news, online discussions and web coordination among social and political activists are far easier to do if a community can access the Internet. The availability of encryption makes it possible for activists moving under repressive conditions to trade information without being exposed to enemies. Web sites can perpetually disseminate even entire libraries of information.
The defeat of the capitalists from the operative works of socialists paved the way to the use of Internet for the common good of humanity. Workplaces of the new economy take pride of open source programming activists and engineers with social responsibility for the productive use of Internet technology. The academe can also be proud of librarians for free information and researchers collaborating in defiance of economic or geographical limitations. The arts teem with professionals who exchange creative products for free and against the monopolies of the privileged few. The media overflow with journalists who publish against censorship and for free speech and expression. These socialists may be discovered in the technology sector, which is frequently deemed as defiant of the progressive movement. Their success in the form of the domination of the Internet carries the message that information desires to be free, something that people of private ownership cannot welcome. With the defeat of capitalism by the Internet, the world is inevitably being liberated.