Warlords, Priests, Merchants, Media......Internet

in General Discussion edited January 2014
If the idea that the various ages of Power have ranged down from tribal warlords (Kings) to priests ("The Church") to merchants (exemplified by the Venetians) to the media (CNN being the archetype)...is it any stretch to say that the internet ("The People) is the newest power broker on the scene?


  • Reply 1 of 18

    Originally posted by drewprops

    If the idea that the various ages of Power have ranged down from tribal warlords (Kings) to priests ("The Church") to merchants (exemplified by the Venetians) to the media (CNN being the archetype)...is it any stretch to say that the internet ("The People) is the newest power broker on the scene?

  • Reply 2 of 18
    I dunno, the internet is pretty big, but it's still less powerful than the media if you ask me. maybe in the future, but not yet.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member
    Its a stretch to say the internet = "the people". Actually I would call it false or a lie.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    The merchants are still in power because they control the media. The internet's largely decentralized nature is different- I think. Someone want to explain that?
  • Reply 5 of 18
    This is just a plain dumb idea. It's like saying telephones have power. There is no Internet bureaucracy. I think drew must have been smoking the Hobbit weed when he thought of this.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    Who said anything about bureaucracy?? I know that Alabama is ten years behind us but come on, catch up! :P

    Okay, don't call the internet "The People". But it isn't the King, it isn't the Church, it isn't the Merchants and it isn't the Media. It's all of them PLUS the people. Maybe a grand convergence. Like ShawnJ, I don't know...but...

    Do any of you guys strictly rely on getting your facts from newspapers and television anymore? If there's a teaser on the news for some event that catches your opinion do you sit there and wait for them to tell you the story or do you head for Google? (admittedly a convergence of ALL media outlets)

    There's an article in the latest WIRED where one of the guys from moveon.org says that the internet has artificially increased his perceived IQ by 20 points...the accuracy of the number he uses notwithstanding, I'd hazard a guess that all of the smart cats on this board would be a lot less prepared if the internet went on vacation. Howard Dean's strangely powerful (yet vaporous) seemed born of the net. Relational database sites are growing in size (Xanga, Friendster, etc).

    FARK (and other sites like it) rapidly dispense news stories, a kind of rabid parallel processing of odd and interesting news stories. Blogs have gained acceptance and even a growing reverence, even among those in the traditional media.

    Perhaps the torch hasn't truly been passed from the Media to the internet yet, and the Merchants certainly never went away, but I'd assert that the internet has introduced a new eccentricity into the process.

    Maybe it's universal information.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Three cheers for the internet!
  • Reply 8 of 18
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member

    Originally posted by ShawnJ

    Three cheers for the internet!

  • Reply 9 of 18
    You're equating a tool (the Internet) to a power broker. The Internet is just a reflection of the world. On the Internet, you have the same things you have in real life, i.e. workers, merchants, media, etc. I think your logic is seriously f'd. I'm sure when you were puffing on the marijuana, it seemed like a great idea. I have a friend who's a pothead who has the same problem.

    A bureaucracy is what characterizes power. Power accumulates in a bureaucracy. "The Internet" does not act collectively, therefore your whole thesis is meaningless.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    I'm not going down the insult-trading road with you Gan...feel free to suggest I'm on drugs if it makes you feel better about yourself.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    I'll take that as a concession.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Well then you'd be wrong yet again.

    I stick by my assertion, not to be pulled off course by your strangely personal assaults. The internet IS a tool, the USE of the internet is something more that I didn't dream up all by myself....for reference I refer you to the last ten years of WIRED magazine. The article to which I referred earlier is just one of a bazillion stories about how the USE of the internet is empowering people more than ever before.

    The availability of information and the ability to cross-reference that information is something that people have never had until this age. I'd certainly say that the people have been empowered by the use of the internet.

    So, I'm having a discussion. If you want to win something you're playing with the wrong person. And keep your drugs to yourself.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    That's better.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Well Ganondorf, I'd actually say that power is based more on the ownership of the means of production and bureaucracies are just a manifestation of that power. But then I'm a left-wing ratbag from way back.

    Yeah drewprops I'm with you but I think the Net has a long way to go in becoming a counter to existing power structures (I'm thinking another 20 - 50 years of maturation). But it has taken a few stumbling steps. P2P networks made the RIAA sit up and take notice. Traditional media outlets regularly pick up on stories derived from the (non-media) internet. Even something as banal and relatively pointless as googlebombing exemplifies the potential for a type of collective action hitherto unseen. Perhaps most significantly, it's making keeping things a secret more and more difficult. I imagine all politicians secretly loathe the Net.

    But I think historically, these are such early days that where it all ends up and how people exploit the Net's potential (for good or bad) is pretty much anybody's guess (and there are plenty of anybodies trying to guess).
  • Reply 15 of 18
    I think the only thing that's keeping you from being right is the fact that nobody dies if the Internet goes down. If merchants stop producing/selling food people starve. If warlords go to war or priests declare crusades (or whatever) people die in combat. If the Internet goes haywire I get more time for other stuff.

    Once people literally start living and dying by the Internet, you'll probably be right.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    The Internet. No money in it. The Dot Bomb proved that.

    But I guess as a interactive/communication/educational tool it works in some ways. My friend is getting his degree through an online college course.

    And free porn rocks. The freedom of choice too.

  • Reply 17 of 18
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member

    Originally posted by drewprops

    If the idea that the various ages of Power have ranged down from tribal warlords (Kings) to priests ("The Church") to merchants (exemplified by the Venetians) to the media (CNN being the archetype)...is it any stretch to say that the internet ("The People) is the newest power broker on the scene?

    You know, I think it's a gross simplification to attribute power in a society to a few groups in overall society.

    Some more food for thought: politicians, religious leaders are business owners are all people. Just not everybody. Same with the internet, not everyone is online - saying the internet is "the people" is about as accurate as saying the communist party is the people.

    Further down the road, what is the "power" these groups supposedly wield? The influence they gain over other people's (law-makers, for example) choices perhaps? If so, the "internet" thus far has not been very successful in stopping the RIAA et al.

    Sorry about all this bullshit philosophy, but it's a very vauge thread

  • Reply 18 of 18
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    I studied architecture in college and as such we were dragged through volumes of books on the history of Western culture. One of the ringing themes in Western culture is the shift of Power from Kings to the Catholic Church to the Merchant guilds...eventually leading to nation states and representative self-government. The Media is a very recent addition to that list. Students of history already know this power chain...each of the new power groups entered into a complex web of power with the existing power brokers, none of whom ever stopped wielding their power, but were instead forced to share their power with the new players as they emerged...in order to keep their own power, albeit in a diminished capacity.

    I don't think that it is at all incorrect to suggest that the Internet will be (or already has been) added to the list by historians and sociologists. I also don't think I'd be incorrect in saying that the topic lies beyond the interest of you guys.....I don't think the topic is vague, I think that it's just too boring for you guys
Sign In or Register to comment.