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The benefits of connectivity are inseparable from a new dependency and vulnerability created by state and corporate power’s capacity to disconnect whomever it chooses.This capacity to disconnect users from the internet, at least in terms of the state, has been intrinsic to the medium long before corporations came onto the scene.Capital, faced with reduced avenues for profit, decided that US labor is too costly, and it will only invest in it again when that cost is reduced or “corrected.” If the government slows this correction through adding public jobs, the private sector will likely continue to sit on its capital depriving the state of its tax revenue, et cetera.Mc Chesney’s assertion that “inequality” has “corrupted” the political system obscures the fact that it is the system that produces inequality, as well as “special interests,” in the first place; so why seek to return to an earlier state, when we know where accumulation eventually goes?By eschewing the prevailing “network” metaphor in favor of a more literal and concrete description of the internet’s vertical-horizontal system of control, Galloway is able to describe a standardizing internet code that, among other things, problematizes popular notions of internet “connectivity,” “collectivity,” and “participation.” Specifically, Galloway shows how the benefits of connectivity, collectivity, and participation are inseparable from their opposites; new possibilities for action have simultaneously produced new capacities for control.For instance, Galloway recounts how the communications company Verio permanently disconnected the activist troupe The Yes Men from their server and thereby their website following the activists’ anti-corporate prank targeting Dow Chemical regarding the Bhopal disaster.

Notwithstanding the book’s clearly written tour of numerous issues characterizing today’s internet, from the effective demise of net neutrality via Smartphones to the multiplication of cloud computing, Mc Chesney’s account is diminished by a dubious conception of the state that leads to an inadequate analysis of capitalism and, thereby, a flawed prescription.The state soon after presented – as it did with 19 century land-grants to the railroads – the internet to the market, whose privatization would generate the tax revenue that the state could never create on its own.It is unclear why Mc Chesney believes that the state needed to be “corrupted” – Congress “is under the thumb of big money” – in order to make this self-serving decision.Mc Chesney paraphrases Paul Krugman’s discussion of Michal Kalecki to argue that government job programs would be opposed by business merely because “if the public realizes that the government has the resources to establish full employment, the realization would undermine the notion that the central duty of government is to create a climate in which business has confidence in the system and therefore eventually invests to create jobs.” Here Mc Chesney psychologizes the economy in suggesting that it is people’s attitudes that prevent government job creation, not the fact that government jobs decrease unemployment and thereby increase the cost of labor.In proposing effective government subsidization of labor, Mc Chesney ignores the manner in which we arrived at our current moment.

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