Friday, March 4, 2011

Schiller Chapter 1

In “The Neoliberal Network Drive Originates in the United States” Schiller provides a historical discussion to the emergence of network technologies, associated companies, and the laisseze-faire attitude towards regulation which these companies proposed. What Schiller suggests is that while originally closely regulated, telecommunications and network technologies became increasingly unregulated; the result is a business model for communications technologies which become the norm both within the US as well as internationally.

While the historical discussion of the development of communications technologies itself is quite useful as it outlines the development of the internet and modern network technologies, this concept of a laisseze-faire approach to communications business and technologies is particularly interesting. Speaking anecdotally, this idea of network technologies as un-regulated space seems to extend in many was to the way that we conceive of network content, that is the internet is seen as a space of un-mitigated cultural expression and like a hands off system of economics, the assumptions made regarding web content suggests that this content respond naturally to extant demands or markets. We also see this concept of the internet as a self-regulating or free market manifested in current debates around net neutrality. The idea being that individual service providers could determine what content is made available as a means of marketing, similar to the way certain countries limit content. Schiller’s discussion provides an economic based genealogy for this concept of information technology while simultaneously revealing the very real corporate and government structures that do control these networks.

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