Andreas Broeckmann on Fri, 13 Mar 1998 21:07:49 +0100 (MET)

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Re: <nettime> Technorealism

Bruce Fancher writes:

>If you mean that government should extend into cybersapce the role it has
>played for millenia in protecting citizens against force and fraud and
>enforcing contracts then this is not a controversial point,

i won't get into this debate about the pleasures of statehood and hope that
Bruce will one day realise how free his 'free markts' are; but i have to
object to the 'millenarian' mistake about the history of the state. in
europe (and its north-american colonies), the state has not played this
role for much more than 300 years. that's three centuries. (there are
better history books on this, but i always found Michel Foucault's analyses
of the concept of 'governmentality' in his late texts most enlightening.)

it is also important to keep in mind that 'the state' is very different
things in different countries with different legal and political
traditions, so an argument that will stick with the dominant ideology in
one country will not in another. and while people like bruce seem to dread
anything that smacks of communitarian ideas, a lot of people in europe and
elsewhere have less negative ideas about them. remember for instance that
the wedding between communitarian policies and a capitalist system is
working quite well in countries like Denmark or the Netherlands. from a
strictly neo-liberalist point of view, even germany would probably still
qualify as a socialist state.

i definitely prefer democratic control and public ownership to
privatisation and market control. there is no naturalness about
neo-liberalism, not even at the end of the 90s, and nothing atavistic about
the 'lefty' models that bruce denounces. enough.


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