Dialectical Materialism in Internet Era

By Pan, Yang | Cross - Cultural Communication, May 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Dialectical Materialism in Internet Era


Pan, Yang, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract

Deepening the understanding of the Internet is a prerequisite for the development and governance of the Internet. Machine Thoughts, mentioned in Chapter XIII of Marx's "Das Kapital" and related manuscripts have crucial value of guidance in terms of better understanding of the Internet. Via the viewpoint and approaches of dialectical materialism, the positioning of the Internet is an extension of the machine, its property is the artery of Society, and the challenges encountered are universal and complicated. Henceforth the governance of the Internet should apply a systematic approach.

Key words: The internet; Dialectical materialism; Governance

INTRODUCTION

February 27, 2014, The Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Informatization was set up as the supreme body of China s Internet, headed by Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. From November 19 to 21 2014, the first World Internet Conference sponsored by Chinese government was held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, China, the topic of the conference was: "interconnection, sharing cohabitation", more than 1,000 senior people from nearly 100 countries and regions attended the conference. During China's "two sessions" (the National People's Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference)in March 2015, Prime Minister Li Keqiang reported on the work of the government, he proposed the development of the "Internet +" action plan for the first time . Whether it is the formulation strategy on national Internet, or the propositions of the co-governance on international Internet governance, or the development and implementation of the "Internet +" action plan to promote domestic economic development, all those necessitates a base of profound understanding of the Internet, it is the same as the Chinese saying "Only strong roots can make the leaves prosperous, "Consequently, conscious application of the Marxist dialectical materialism and historical view is the key to deepening the understanding of the Internet, Regarded as the treasury of the Marxism' Machine Thoughts in Chapter XIII of "Das Kapital" and related manuscripts, have critical value to further clarify the positioning of the Internet, the nature, the challenges and measures oí the governance and other issues.

1. POSITIONING OF THE INTERNET: THE EXTENSION OF MACHINE

To investigate the status and role of the Internet in production, it is necessary to compare the Internet with machine, which is ubiquitous, useful and accustomed by beings. Marx insisted:

As the starting Point of Industrial Revolution, the machine, uses such an organization to replace a worker who uses the tooK thls organizatiuon works together with numerous same tools or one tool of the same species, driven by a single force, regardless of the form of the force. Herein the machines come into being, but it is just the simple components in the production of machine.

The relations of the Internet and machine are manifested in the following four aspects.

1.1 Material Base

The Internet was initially linked by two computers with the purpose of directly "exchange." Up to now, the Internet can only exist and work through the machines like computer terminals, servers, routers and others alike. With the development of information technology, the devices that connect the Internet are becoming smarter and smaller, smart phones become one of the main terminals to connect with the Internet, people can be online on their smart phones for 24 hours. At the same time, a large number of originally isolated household appliances are connected to the Internet to form "Internet of Things", such as the networking of televisions, sockets, air purifiers, cameras, cars, etc.. However, in any case, the Internet cannot work without a machine with the function of message sending, receiving and processing. Therefore, the Internet is an extension of the machine concerning material base. …

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