A Paradoxical World and the Role of Technology in Thana-Capitalism

A Paradoxical World and the Role of Technology in Thana-Capitalism

Maximiliano Emanuel Korstanje (University of Palermo, Argentina)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch413
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Abstract

In this chapter, we hold the thesis that, although technology introduced a plenty of liberties and rights for humankind, which are protected by democracy, it resulted in a much deeper disciplinary mechanism that leads to censorship. To put this in other terms, in Medieval Times, writers, thinkers whose text defied the authority of King or Catholic Church were jailed, tortured and condemned to the stake. The power of coaction emanating from Prince exerted violence as an efficient instrument of dissuasion, circumscribing the Leviathan's whims. The dissemination of books was limited to those authors who were conducive to status quo.
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Introduction

We live in digital times, where events are covered and disseminated by the media in seconds to a much wider audience (Warschauer & Matuchniak, 2010). Technology not only altered our current means of production, but also the ways life is lived as well as our habits, behaviours and social interaction with others (Gold 2012). The seminal texts of Jacques Ellul about a “technological society” shed light on the negative effects of autocracy imposed by the expansion of technological breakthroughs. The legitimacy of elite is enhanced at the time workforce accepts the cultural value of efficacy as the best of possible worlds. One day, humankind will be strictly controlled by Machines which will be characterized by rationality, artificiality and automatism. Ellul acknowledged that technology was conducive to the culture of capitalism posing instrumentality as mediator between citizens and institutions (Ellul, 1964). Scholars and thinkers are divided respecting to the role played by digital technology in the liberal world of consumers. Not too far from the legacy of Max Weber, Ellul was pioneer in adamantly alerting to what extent technology promotes an atmosphere of further alienation for human beings. However, others voices as Guy Sorman (2008) claims that the forces of progress activate conservative counter-reactions that are oriented to prevent a more egalitarian society. Detractors of technology and its progress only are limited to tell part of the truth, which means the aftermaths of new techniques in the fields of economy but ignoring those achievements promoted by technology as the expansion of life expectative or the improvements in healthcare overt recent years. As Korstanje and Skoll put it, neither good nor bad technology depends on the use people did. Concerned by the paradoxes of Chernobyl, modernity showed that technology enrooted in a world of complexities and uncertainness would be as “a run-away train” very hard to control. The paradox was that the same instrument will make of our life a safer place to dwell become in a global threat that very well jeopardizes our existence in this planet (Korstanje & Skoll 2014). Here some questions arise: what is the role of Technology in our modern World, is technology a mechanism of control or censorship in democratic societies?, in what way?

Although technology introduced a plenty of liberties and rights for humankind, which are protected by democracy, it resulted in a much deeper disciplinary mechanism that leads to censorship. To put this in other terms, in Medieval Times, writers, thinkers whose text defied the authority of King or Catholic Church were jailed, tortured and condemned to the stake. The power of coaction emanating from Prince exerted violence as an efficient instrument of dissuasion, circumscribing the Leviathan’s whims. The dissemination of books was limited to those authors who were conducive to status quo. In this respect, the power was endorsed by the capacity of prince to create terror in others. Rather, in postmodern times, censorship is preferably achieved by over-production without limits and no matter whom or under what theme the writer focuses on. For example, once we key in Google the name Karl Marx or Max Weber we will get thousands of records of different studies containing or citing both scholars. Since our limited mind can only be read part of these records (not all), we only are restricted to have a partial viewpoint of the problem. In the world of consumption, where liberty plays a crucial role in order for consumers to channel their desire in many directions, knowledge is over-produced to cause misunderstanding in readers. The larger the bibliography consulted, less the derived understanding. For those readers who are not specialized in sociology it is almost impossible to understand modernity only accessing to ten or twenty works bought in bookstore. This happens simply because the censorship in postmodern times is based on the liberty administered by technology to produce without order in many directions. Conducive to mass-consumption, freedom and democracy delineate the contours of societal order making the produced commodities affordable to consumers, but in so doing opens the doors for an atmosphere of conflict and discontent as never before.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Globalization: Refers to a cultural project of integration of economies and networks which leads to multiculturalism and interchange of worldviews.

Thana-Capitalism: This represents a new term just coined in this manuscript where death situates as the main commodity of good exchange process and current economic systems. Thana capitalism replaced risk society after 9/11.

Censorship: It means the suppression of free speech rights or any right to express own ideas.

Risk Society: The ways a society reacts against the rise of risks. Risk society alludes to the needs of forecasting future to prevent potential threats that may affects societal order.

Digital Surveillance: The use of digital technology to control others, citizens and the life of a nation.

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