The End Of Power

Moises Naim, Basic Books 2013, Bvtn 303.3 NAI

I did not read this cover to cover, lots of generalizations and comma-separated lists of organizations, few revelations. It is no surprise that older organizations (governments, corporations, religions) are losing power, revenue, adherents, and market share. Individuals are (on average) better educated and have more economic and communication options, creating more potential choice.

However, power can take many forms, and asymmetrical knowledge is a very subtle form of control. In a free nation, private citizens collectively know more about their public government than it knows about them; with the gargantuan growth of US government spy agencies, citizens have lost their privacy while the government has almost full privacy. This is abetted by organizations like Google, Facebook, Experian, and Acxiom have huge databases of citizen spending, internet and telephone use, movement, and associations. This data can be used for exploitation and control. In negotiation, the participant with the most information and the best algorithms win.

Media has indeed fragmented; we are getting information from more individual sources, but as Eli Paliser points out in "The Filter BUbble", we see what our search engines lead us to, and that is under the control of Big Search.

Naim is a pundit and Venezuelan ex-minister, and may see the world through his own loss of power. If he was working for Google, he would see the world differently - and not be allowed to share his views with the rest of us.

If I had a lot more time, I might have plowed through more of the book, looking for surprising insights about possible futures. In my brief index-driven sampling of the book, I mostly found explanations of the recent past. That dies not help me invent.

EndOfPower (last edited 2016-04-01 21:32:26 by KeithLofstrom)