Mark Stahlman (via RadioMail) on Tue, 3 Jun 1997 23:20:50 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> The Piran Nettime Manifesto


Barlow said:

>> There is a lot of tinkering with industrial economies through regulation
>> and tax incentives, but I would say more of these techniques are in decline
>> and increasing low repute. Look at what is happening with
>> telecommunications worldwide. I don't know a single country that still
>> believes the PTT model is the way to optimize communications.

And then Ted said:

> And I don't know of a single country that really believes that its
> citizens can eat electrons. Telecoms are only one facet of a broad
> array of questions, all of which must be approached as necessarily
> interrelated. That is the essence of the problem we're faced with.

Well, both miss the point (although, at least Ted made some sense).  

The U.S.Telecom Bill of 1996 has ushered in enormous *increases* in
regulation not the reverse. More not less.  Meanwhile, telecom and media
power has concentrated and competition has declined -- just as any
competent analyst was saying from the beginning.  Barlow is lying or plum
ignorant (once again).

As I discussed in Ljubljana, the move to implement digital television in
the U.S. was a purely technocratic manipulation and was *not* reflecting
the wishes of the the television (or any other) industry.  Likewise, for
the new $3.5 Billion "Universal Service" pot-o-gold which is intended to
accelerate school and library hook-ups.  These are infrastructure "reforms"
which have no basis in "free-market" activities at all -- except that
"free-market" ideologues have been very prominent in the process of
breaking down previous domains of sovereignty to make way for the new
technocratic ones.

The whole GII exercize (presumably the anti-PTT "optimization" to which
Barlow aludes) comes directly from Gore/Hundt and their team of
technocrats.  The point here is to accelerate the use of telecom to
implement global post-industrialism.  The point in the U.S. is to get
everyone online by 2006 (give or take) in order to use these systems to
re-define "democracy" away from representation towards opinion polling. 
Barlow has spent much more face time with these characters (Gore, Hundt,
Toffler, Newt and their minions and mentors) than I have and I can't
believe that he doesn't understand the game that is being played.  Nope, I
can't believe it for a minute.

Far from the world not being "planned" any more, the technocrats have
attacked an older (industrial) form of planning in order to replace it with
their own (post-industrial) form of planning.  It's a simple and time-worn
technique.  Distract the credulous with fairy tales, while stealing all the
chickens from the yard.  We shouldn't put up with it around here -- just
because it works in WIRED and other propaganda organs.

No oligarch is going to allow the world to truly go out-of-control.  All
that's happened is a shift in planning techniques (towards complexity and
chaos control) and in planning goals (from growth to dark age "stability").
 Surely, we're not the credulous, are we?

Oh, yeah, what the hell, let's party!

Mark Stahlman
New Media Associates
New York City
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