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"Digging deeper and wider than any previous effort into what the information revolution truly means, Netocracy is the must-read. Netocracy is the unsurpassable how and when of this whole revolution."
—Kjell A. Nordström and Jonas Riddersträle,
authors of Funky Business
The world will not live without logos, but neither will capitalism silently take over democracy. What comes next?
Forget capitalism and the class struggle, we are witnessing the birth of a whole new world. The digital revolution is, in fact, changing things far more dramatically then the hype-mongers of tech Internet ever imagined—only not in the way that they and their investors hoped. The move from a society dominated by print and broadcast mass media to the age of interactivity is at least as dramatic as the move from feudalism to capitalism.
After capitalism comes attentionalism. Those who can harness global networks of information and master new forms of communication will control business, finance and legislation, forming the new business and government elites. They will inherit the power; they are the Netocracy.
Driven by the Internet and mobile communications, networks are turning into the major means of doing business, organising action, getting knowledge; the organising principle for the information age. Simply put, networks will make the world go round. So controlling the networks of this world will soon count for more than controlling the capital.
Manuel Castells has described the Internet as the most extraordinary technological revolution in history. But he also suggests it is as underdeveloped socially as it is overdeveloped technologically. The societal implications of the communications revolution are going to hit soon. Netocracy predicts what they will be, where the power will flow and draws some remarkable conclusions about life after capitalism.
And who will have the power in a world dominated by networks?
The Internet has often been touted as a radically decentralized unpredictable phenomenon thriving beyond the control of individuals, corporations or governments. In Netocracy, Bard and Soderqvist show that the transparent and non-hierarchical society proclaimed by the enthusiastic early Internet pioneers is one of the greatest myths of the information age. Future society will be hierarchical. It will be divided—but not along lines of wealth and academic merit. Capitalist structures will be broken down.
Power will not lie with those who own the means of production, but with those who sort and provide information: "It is the people who can create and sustain attention that are the Netocracy, the new holders of power, not those who simply supply capital."People who can manipulate networks and the information that runs through them will inherit the future. These are the netocrats. The netocracy consists of people with excellent social skills and a talent for the adept manipulation of information. Those without this ability to use the new interactive media technology to their advantage will form the lower classes of the digital age.
netocrat ne·to-krat n. The netocrat has created and not inherited his social identity. He/she is self-made in the most fundamental meaning of the word. The netocrat has money but it is a means and not an end goal. He/she outsmarts the capitalist by ruling the networks that now rule the world. The netocrat is an artistic and political manipulator who has turned networking into an artform.
"Alexander Bard, author of 80 hit singles in Scandinavia, is a record producer, Internet mogul, philosophy enthusiast, and much more."
1. Technology: the motor of historical motion
2. Three Paradigms: feudalism - capitalism - informationalism
3. The Plurarchic Society: the end of the nation state and the crisis of democracy
4. In search of attention: information - propaganda - entertainment
5. The Netocrats and their worldview
6. Globalization: financial and cultural
7. The new biology and the ethics of the Netocracy
8. The death of man and the birth of the virtual subject
9. The network pyramids: the power hierachies of attentionalism
10. Sex and the new tribalism, virtual education and the inequality of the brains
11. Behind the firewalls: virtual revolutionaries and the civil wars of the Netocracy