Networking the Global Market System
320 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: March 4, 1999
- Published: February 28, 2000
Schiller traces the transformation of the Internet from government, military, and educational tool to agent of "digital capitalism" through three critically important and interlinked realms.
The networks that comprise cyberspace were originally created at the behest of government agencies, military contractors, and allied educational institutions. Over the past generation or so, however, a growing number of these networks began to serve primarily corporate users. Under the sway of an expansionary market logic, the Internet began a political-economic transition toward what Dan Schiller calls "digital capitalism."
Schiller traces these metamorphoses through three critically important and interlinked realms. Parts I and II deal with the overwhelmingly "neoliberal" or market-driven policies that influence and govern the telecommunications system and their empowerment of transnational corporations while at the same time exacerbating exisiting social inequalities. Part III shows how cyberspace offers uniquely supple instruments with which to cultivate and deepen consumerism on a transnational scale, especially among privileged groups. Finally, Part IV shows how digital capitalism has already overtaken education, placing it at the mercy of a proprietary market logic.
[P]rovides a useful counterweight to popular expectations about the supposedly democratic impact of the Internet.
Harvard Business Review
Dan Schiller's Digital Capitalism is one of the most important works in communication studies of this generation. It is undoubtedly the single best book on the Internet, and one that should be required reading for all concerned with the future of media and democracy. Schiller masterfully tears down the mythology of the Internet to reveal its close links to needs and desires of the world's largest corporations and wealthiest investors. Unlike somany observers who regard the Internet as some walled-off preserve that only acts on the world, Schiller integrates digital communication systems into the heart of the global political economy. In doing so, he presents a disarming and troubling pictures that deserves our immediate and sustained attention.
Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, author Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times
Selective adaptations of new technologies drive capitalist expansion; globalized networks of electronic commerce represent the latest round of this history-changing process. Digital Capitalism is the best guide yet to what is happening, and nobody but Dan Schiller could write it.
Richard B. DuBoff, Professor of Economics, Bryn Mawr College
In Digital Capitalism... Dan Schiller provides a compelling andsobering view of the democratic potential of the Internet.
Lingua Franca, "Breakthrough Books"
In this welcome antidote to happy high-tech hype, Schiller cutsthrough the false promises of the new cyber age to expose the harshpolitical and economic realities that shape it.
David Noble, Division of Social Science, York University