Don’t know if you saw Ruth Richardson’s wee rant in the Herald yesterday. Never realised she was such a bad writer. That was awful. Just a bunch of catchphrases and insensitive mention of Christchurch so she could use earthquake metaphors. Her thrust seems to be that the social media age will make us all free-market libertarians. Couldn’t be more wrong.
She fundamentally misunderstands the effect technological change is having on politics. Smart phones and social networks aren’t promoting the kind of rank individualism that neoliberalism depends on. They’re creating a generation of ‘networked individuals’, who are socialised into cooperation, horizontal social relations and radical transparency. Deeply cynical of opaque and hierarchical power structures, whether state or corporate.
The result is Tahrir, Syntagma, UK Uncut, Occupy, the Arab Spring, and even the London riots.
For Richardson to argue that the rise of the network is going to promote the interests of the global capitalist elite is as absurd as some medieval bishop arguing the invention of the printing press would bolster the position of the Catholic Church.