www.ebbemunk.dkarrowThe Netocracy and the Consumtariat

The Netocracy and the Consumtariat

Speech by Alexander Bard, musician and sociologist, Billingehus, Skövde, Sweden, 16 September 2000. Alexander Bard is author of the Internet sociology book best-seller "Netocracy". The question of the book is: "Where do the interactive media fit in?"

Links to this page: History of Speech History of Writing History of Printing History of Interactive Media

Alexander Bard Alexander Bard in Skövde

History of Speech

Mankind started talking 100,000 or 140,000 years ago. An advantage of language is, that it controls morals, so we stopped fucking all of the time, giving better and more controlled people.

History of Writing

Mankind started writing in Mesopotamia 11,000 years ago. Why in Mesopotamia, and not in China nor in Mexico? Because Mesopotamia was a very rich country with perfect conditions, lot of cattle, pigs, chicken, wheat, etc. The newly created villages needed rules and created the idea of property. Written language was used for laws, i.e. civilisation.

Only a few people could read and write. The written language and the need for a power ruling the society created the aristocracy ("I am better than you"). To manipulate other people you need a story telling "because somebody said so". This is the invention of God.

The monarch was created as the aristocrat of aristocrats. The monarch's role is to tell what is good for moral and the society. Ordinary people get the promise of a reward after death. In all societies you will always find a story of eternity.

History of Printing

The printing press was invented in China, but was taken into use in large scale in Europe around 1450, when the price of paper lowered. Suddenly there was a need for more people to know how to read. Now, there was a basis for building cities, and books told people how to live in cities.

This is a major paradigm shift, and it created the bourgeoisie and the working class. Again, the workers were told a story, and "Manhood" replaced "God".

The ability of reading created the feeling of individuality, because any person is reading and understanding by itself. Until 1750 we never thought of ourselves as individuals. The bible was the first book to be printed, but printing afterwards killed the religion.

The hand-written books were in Latin language. The printed books were in local languages as well, for example French (the winning dialect from the French area) and German (Luther's invention, a local dialect from Hannover).

Formerly, the educated people were placed in monasteries. Now, they are locked up in universities instead.

The books printed in local language were basis for the upcoming nationalism. Nationalism was introduced as the new religion, interpreted by the state. The new ideology is "progress". It is a new illusion, a way of controlling people.

There is no fundamental difference between radio, television and printed books they are all one-way media.

History of Interactive Media

Since 1970 it has been possible to communicate with interactive media. Now attention is the scarcest resource, and capital is not the fundament anymore. Money is not the crucial power anymore, because you can't buy yourself into a network. Money is second-rated, and what is bought for money obtains a loss of credibility. This is a major power shift.

The society is divided between

Individualism has been abandoned, and instead networking is in. The old identities are worthless, and the new identity will be defined in subcultures.

In a democracy the majority rules and works. But it reigns a closed space, a nation state.

But the nation state has vanished. Will you die for Sweden? No the nation state is dead. It means, that we have a plurachy where the minorities can walk out like it has always been in the plucratic culture in the United States. If a group did not like the others, they went west.

Maybe a network can convert into a company? Surely, a company can convert into a network.

Money is not important for the upper class anymore. You need money as you need food, but it is not the most wanted resource anymore.