Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How IT Came to Rule the World: Three Regimes

This is the fourth post in the mini-series on How IT Came to Rule the World ©

This project is organized to analyze and articulate three historical regimes that shaped the computer and telecommunications systems leading to the Internet and a proliferation of IT and digital media. Regimes are historically unique configurations of commercial, military and political power that carve out particular paths of social organization and technological development. To help articulate their dynamics, I have named them: containment capitalism, digital monetarism and global e-commerce and security. At times intentionally and at times inadvertently, each of these regimes contributed significantly to the development of IT, the Internet, and its World Wide Web of e-commerce and social media.

Over time, these regimes shaped an informational and technological environment that was sequentially dedicated to:

1) a military real-time hemispheric radar defense system to protect against a nuclear attack;

2) an international regime of capital decontrols, electronic money and financial news flows, and;

3) an electronic environment for social networking, surveillance, and global business to business (B2B), business to government (B2G), business to consumer (B2C), and consumer to consumer (C2C) transactions.

These three regimes at times overlapped, often conflicted, and frequently worked in conjunction with one another. However, the overall result was an unsteady yet unwavering trajectory towards a realization of computer codified information and calculative ability as well as the transformation of the telegraph and telephone system into a device for communicating digital information. It was a path with no sure outcome, no clear sense of its heading, but one that was disciplined by political and economic forces into slowly emerging national, then global, webs of digitalistic communications.

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