Thursday, May 22, 2003

I recently did some reading you may be interested in. In 'A Social History of Knowledge' (2000), Burke provides some pretty interesting observations regarding empire--of the early modern European kind--and knowledge:

"[T]he extension of knowledge [w]as a precondition as well as consequence of the expansion of empire..." p.117

"The desire for control was obviously a major stimulus to the collecting of information by early modern states and expecially empires, but curiosity also played its part, and information was collected not only because it was immediately useful but in the hope that one day it might be." p.128

While ruminating on these passages and their Autonomist parallels, I came across a very recent article (April 2003) in MIT's 'Technology Review' called 'Surveillance Nation' by Dan Farmer. While Farmer's tone is quite negative--he notes Coppola's movie 'The Conversation'-- there may be
some room for an upbeat Autonomist reading.

Ubiquitious surveillance may not be a bad thing. Therein may lie the sort of democratic information institution required to support a working market... provided the information isn't classified and hoarded by corporations and governments!


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