Internet – the Death of Social Networks

Niall Ferguson’s latest Reith Lecture.

Internet social networks communicate, may even communicate collective action and action collective communications, but don’t themselves take collective physical action.

Drawing extensively on de Toqueville. US experience of low individual reliance on central government and state institutions, and high propensity to form voluntary institutions for so many different ends and moral purposes. Spontaneous participation in the troupe, beyond the family. Historically, statistically such participation is declining and expectation of state responsibility for action is growing. (State should only interfere for common good – over and above the legal framework – for natural monopolies across the troupes, protection from tyrrany of majorities, etc.)

Education for example: Biodiversity of mixed and varied private and public schooling arrangements is preferable to any dead-hand of monopoly. (NB Education is a huge part of Burke’s partnership across the generations.) Good public / state education is also good, measures of quality would probably include community participation.

The challenge is still a class / affluence gap in propensity to voluntary participation ?
“Think before taking sides” – a good message, a la Zizek.

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