Read Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu Free Online
Book Title: Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires|
ISBN 13: 9781848879867
The author of the book: Tim Wu
Date of issue: January 1st 2012
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.48 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1890 times
Reader ratings: 3.2
Read full description of the books:
This is a book which lives up to its bombastic subtitle, "The Rise and Fall of Information Empires". The reference to Edward Gibbon is apt, as this is a history of monopolies which aimed for total control over media and communication, and how these empires fell. Wu discusses the telephone industry (AT&T), radio (RCA), movies (Paramount), and sketches out a few tentative lines for the internet and smartphones (Apple, Google).
The main story here is how pioneers in each new communications industry seek to maintain their first-mover advantage. This he calls the 'Kronos Effect', taken from the Titan of Greek mythology who devoured his children so that none of them would usurp him. They would attempt to stifle any innovation which would overturn their rule, or purchase it outright, so as to prevent any loss of their market share. They would even use legal coercion or lobbying the federal government to preserve their advantages.
The most frightening assertion here is that industrial and commercial structures affect the nature of free speech. One case in point is the movie industry, which was shackled by the Hays Code in the 1930s and anti-Communist paranoia in the 1950s. These moral crusades would affect the quality of artistic output, and only those independents outside of the monopolistic structure had any chance of creating, even with their more limited resources.
But do these empires of communication last forever? No. Again, like Kronos, they too are usurped by the new. These are either advances in technology which they have not foreseen, or careful regulation and protection, as Zeus was protected by Rhea. Or they could collapse under their own weight and internal malpractice, like the great scandal of AOL-TimeWarner.
So what can we do about this? There are already conflicts brewing on the future of the internet, and Wu has a few ideas on how to deal with them based on this history. The future, of course, is not identical to the past, but it can be similar. He advocates government intervention and consumer boycotts to prevent the formation of future monopolies at the expense of the public, but also he also proposes a 'separation principle', where companies should not interfere with or prioritize certain content over others, as that would again lead to unfair competition. The present belligerents in this conflict are 'Internet service providers', such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, versus 'content providers', such as Google and Amazon. You might otherwise know this idea as 'net neutrality', a term which Wu coined, and heartily advocates. This intertwined battle of corporations, individuals, and governments, is ongoing, and will no doubt affect our futures in ways most of us cannot yet imagine.
This is an engaging book on many popular issues. You, reader, are on the internet right now, so you'd do well to learn about this.
Download Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires ERUB
Download Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires DOC
Download Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires TXT