Monday, July 19, 2010

Another reason why those who never see Empoprise-BI aren't missing anything

I fancy myself as a man for the masses. When people talk about smartphones, I talk about my dumbphone. When people talk about the latest online sensation, I announce that I am not trendy. In short, I believe that I am the spokesperson for the rest of us.

I am nothing of the kind.

This was brought home to me by something that I read in Internet Evolution. In the course of reviewing Martha Lane Fox's "Manifesto for a Networked Nation," George Taylor made the following comment:

The disconnect between the Manifesto's claims and reality is reinforced by some barely believable quotes from Race Online staffers. "One of your biggest disadvantages today is that without computers you can't access learning." Or, "You can't reach what you're capable of achieving these days if you can't use a computer... You're cutting yourself off from the world."

This Fruit-Loopery is encouraged by the Manifesto's refusal to countenance the possibility that people may be perfectly happy off-line. Like a friend of mine: In his 30s with a degree in marine economics, he is a gamekeeper running one of the top shoots in the country. He does not have a computer, he does not want a computer, and his quality of life is outstanding.

Perhaps this is as good a time as any to review the Luddite movement, since the "Manifesto" is a UK document, and the Luddites were a UK movement, spawned by the advances of the Industrial Revolution and their impact upon society:

In the first years of the 19th century stocking frames and the early automation of the power loom threatened this long-standing way of life. Because the new equipment was expensive, the weavers could not afford to purchase it themselves and the balance of power shifted away from the weavers to the factory owners. Simultaneously the Tory government adopted a laissez-faire economic policy. For the weavers, this meant that they were asked to endure a drastic decrease in income and to submit to the regimented and unpleasant atmosphere of a factory, while the price for their food, drink, and other necessities of life increased.

Similar thoughts are appearing today. When everyone is online, and when everyone is doing their business online, then everyone can be tracked, their shopping habit data can be sold to the highest bidder, and the government can keep tabs on their every move.

Why would a gamekeeper want to live in a world like that?
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