Techno-centrism as neo-liberalism

I meant to change topics, but Morozov published another thought-worthy column in Germany today, this time in the Süd-Deutsche Zeitung, where he discusses techno-centrism (or techno-utopianism) as a cover for neo-liberalism, make things like health an issue for the individual rather than society. This is the intelligent critique of the technology discourse. Morozov also expresses some frustration with the futile clashes of technophobes and technophiles – the conflict is not about technology as such but how it is implemented.

One fine example of a technophobe who spends lots of pixels criticizing technology but little energy looking at the implications in terms of power, money and democracy is American novelist Jonathan Franzen. Yes, Freedom and The Corrections deserve all the praise, but in this piece regrettably Franzen lends himself to the artificial conflict on whether technology is good or bad, precisely the debate Silicon Valley wants because it’s one they will always win. Technology is of course neutral, but it can be applied in different ways for better or worse.

Now, on a different topic – following up on yesterday’s post about Lukashenka’s despot regime in Belarus (the only country in Europe that still practices the death penalty – 400 executed since Lukashenka came to power), another dictator that has been a focus of Netopia’s is Mubarak and the events that lead to his downfall in the so-called “twitter-revolution”. Regular Netopia-readers will recall Mariam Kirollos’s story on the myth of this twitter-revolution. Today Kirollos posted a link to this Reuter’s analysis on the Egyptian power nodes: the army, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Ministry of the Interior. Essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand the background to the on-going blood-bath in Egypt (fifty killed only last Sunday).