It’s been almost 20 years since the internet reached the mainstream and while it has been an economic force that has disrupted several industries, its political impact is just starting to have its effect. This week, in New York, Fred Wilson organized a fascinating discussion around hacking society.
Looking through a lot of conversations and efforts by internet activists, one can start discerning common traits, fundamental principles that appear to apply to most causes that have taken hold on the internet. They are
Starting a couple of years ago, the first major clashes between these internet principles and those of the established world started being felt around the world. Dissidents around the world have increasingly taken to the internet as a way to communicate when the government controls the traditional media. The green revolution in Iran, the arab spring, and many other movements have looked to the internet as an infrastructure that can be used to disrupt and organize. Along the same ways, in the United States, the Occupy Wall Street movement and its sub-groups have leveraged many of the internet core philosophical principles and are still working on merging them with some anarchistic ones in an attempt to highlight economic inequality along with a number of other issues that may appeal to more populist individuals.
Meanwhile, the more libertarian strain of internet philosophy has people looking to move more of the economy under internet sovereignty and away from traditional jurisdictions. In a sense, we may look to those individuals as trying to reject some of the ways in which developed countries operate and create their own virtual version of Galt’s Gulch, after the fictional place in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
Those two pulls on internet ideology are consistently at odd with each other and help maintain a balance towards the center that allows for attracting more members to it. Whether that balance helps internet philosophy turn into a movement is only a question of time but how that manifestation will turn into a political force is a question that may become central to many elections in the near future.
© Tristan Louis 1994-present Some rights reserved.