Felix Stalder on 24 Jan 2001 21:28:28 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Re: the end onf an era: the Internet Hits Ground

David Garcia wrote:

>But still the net really did change everything, we just got used to it,
>that¼s all. This is a peculiarity of human consciousness, collectively we
>seem to be only able to tolerate just so much freedom. With every really big
>change, after an initial period of extropian intoxication when everything
>seems possible, humans get scared and seek to normalize and domesticate the
>new landscapes they encounter or create.

My point was not that nothing has changed and that were are back to where
we were half a decade ago. The point that I tried to make was that the idea
that the Internet can *replace* existing institutions has been dropped by
and large. No too long ago, the Internet was discussed in terms of "the end
of the nation state", the "death of the book", "it will kill TV" and many
other things that were supposed to simply whither away.

The new economy was a relatively late-comer to this idea, though it came to
it with a vengeance. The belief that the Internet and e-commerce would
outright replace existing commerce ("why go to your local bookstore if you
can find all books at amazon.de?") was the bit of "rationale" that fueled
the dot-com hype.

Coming late to this replacement-idea, the e-commerce was also late in
abandoning it. In this sense it stands for a broader shift in your
understanding of what the Internet is and what it does, and what we should
do in relation to it.

The focus now turns from how the Internet will make this or that
institution obsolete, to how the Internet contributes to transforming them
(and is in turn transformed by those institutions). Yes, national
legislation is deeply affected by the global nature of the Internet, but
this does not mean that it will go away, but that it will seek new forms to
stay relevant (e.g. stronger international coordination).

Yes, the Internet changed a lot, and will continue to do so beyond what we
know right now, but its change will come from the away it is integrated
into social institutions, and what happens during this process, and not
from it constituting a parallel universe.

best. Felix

Les faits sont faits.

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