Opinion (Robert McChesney, communication professor, author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy): “‘When capitalism is mentioned, it is usually as the ‘free market,’ which is taken as a benevolent given, almost a synonym for democracy,’ McChesney writes. Yet ‘really existing capitalism’ doesn’t fit with the free-market ‘catechism’ or with democracy, he writes, ‘the crisis of our times is that capitalism undermines democracy.’
“The Internet has been transformed from the noncommercial and public space that many dreamed of in its earlier days to one that ‘has been commercialized, copyrighted, patented, privatized, data-inspected, and monopolized,’ McChesney writes.
“As part of that process, advertising has been transformed online in a way that eliminates previous notions of privacy, and the government has surveillance powers that were once unimaginable. Large telecommunication and entertainment corporations that once appeared to be vulnerable, because of the Internet, have prospered through their influence in a ‘corrupt’ policymaking process.
“The Internet giants that have risen over the last two decades are not the progressive force some think them to be, and have prospered as the result of monopoly privileges, exploited labor, and government policies and subsidies, he says. …
“This book comes now, McChesney writes, because he sees the Internet as having crystallized to a significant degree. ‘We are in a position, in some respects for the first time, to make sense of the Internet experience and highlight the cutting-edge issues it poses for society,’ he writes.
“We also are in a better position to understand what decisions can be made that might determine the future of the Internet and its influence in shaping the society, he says in the book.
“Among his prescriptions: broadband availability to all for free as a basic right, strict regulation of advertising and a sharp reduction or elimination of the tax write-off of advertising as a business expense, heavy regulation of digital “natural monopolies” or conversion of them to nonprofit services, large public investments in journalism, net neutrality, strict privacy regulations that make online activities as private as correspondence in the mail, and strong legal barriers against militarization of the Internet and use of it for warrantless surveillance.”
My Comment: The Internet is an imprint of modern society, and all our vices appear on it in an exaggerated form since admission is free, reaction is instant, and distribution is unlimited. As long as we don’t start changing ourselves, our Internet will not change. So, all the attempts are in vain.