Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

Overwhelmed by information

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Fifteen years on, here is a still-influential piece about a global information revolution, and why American culture, and military, are unquestionably dominant. Most striking is Peters’s analysis of global disillusionment with American success.

Most citizens of the globe are not economists; they perceive wealth as inelastic, its possession a zero-sum game. If decadent America (as seen on the screen) is so fabulously rich, it can only be because America has looted one’s own impoverished group or country or region.

Our military power is culturally based. They cannot rival us without becoming us. Wise competitors will not even attempt to defeat us on our terms; rather, they will seek to shift the playing field away from military confrontations or turn to terrorism and nontraditional forms of assault on our national integrity.

The world’s response, Peters thought, would be anger at self and at America. Fifteen years on, this has taken shape in the Middle East through revolution—addressing self—and extensive terrorist networks—addressing both America and self.

As more and more human beings are overwhelmed by information, or dispossessed by the effects of information-based technologies, there will be more violence. Information victims will often see no other resort. As work becomes more cerebral, those who fail to find a place will respond by rejecting reason.

A bold claim, especially when the rejection of reason in the Islamic world is generally attributed to Islam itself.

Written by M. James

March 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm

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