Public Policy and the Public Good

By Ethan Fishman | Go to book overview

a far from universal condition even today. To obtain it, at least legally, requires payment at some point of a fee. As one commentator notes, "Individual citizens compete unequally with private corporations and government agencies for electronically stored information. Their plight will be analogous to that of the illiterate working people of the early nineteenth century" ( Reinecke, 1984: 211). There are strong economic and political reasons, given the priority that modern society gives to the value of private property, to keep things as they are.

Again, Marx would not be surprised. He would be able to account for the extent to which not only the production of hardware (and physical software such as chips) for computers has been shifted to the low-wage areas of the world by business firms eager to increase their profits ( Perrolle, 1987: 144-55), and also for the use of the computer's products being moved to areas where cheap but literate white-collar labor can collate data for credit-card billings, handle airline reservations, and so on ( Nussbaum, 1983). Marx could easily fit these phenomena into his theories of capitalist imperialism.

Clearly, the onset of the technology of the computer has not created a new postindustrial society but only extended the scope of the old industrial society ( Kumar, 1978). How one deals with the problems it poses is a matter for decision by public policymakers in terms of various considerations. But Marx, although he never saw a computer, has just as much to say to us about the information age as he did about the nineteenth century.


REFERENCES

Arab-Ogly E. 1975. In the Forecasters' Maze. Moscow: Progress Publishers.

Aronowitz Stanley. 1981. The Crisis in Historical Materialism: Class, Politics, and Culture in Marxist Theory. New York: Praeger.

Beniger James R. 1987. The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Bishop Katherine. 1987. "Study Sees 'Catastrophe' in Electronics Area." New York Times, February 8, 33.

Braverman Henry. 1974. Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. Foreword by Paul M. Sweezy. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Brown Warren. 1985. "Computer Said to Zap Clerical Jobs." Washington Post, September 5, E2.

Chinlund C. 1984. "High-Tech: New Products, New Hazards." Boston Globe, July 23.

Cooper Julian M. 1977. "The Scientific and Technological Revolution in Soviet Theory." In Frederick Fleron, ed., Technology and Communist Culture: The Socio-Cultural Impact of Technology Under Socialism. New York: Praeger.

Dekin Joseph. 1981. The Electronic Cottage. New York: Bantam Books.

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Public Policy and the Public Good
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • 1: The Rabbi and the Fig Tree: A Lesson for the Supreme Court on Capital Punishment 1
  • References 12
  • 2 - Plato and the Media 15
  • References 27
  • 3 - The Tide Just Keeps Rising: An Aristotelian Perspective on the Crisis in American Education 29
  • References 44
  • 4 - Aquinas, Prudence, and Health Care Policy 47
  • Notes 60
  • Notes 61
  • 5: Martin Luther on Political Leadership 63
  • References 78
  • 6 - A Hobbesian Analysis of the Dangers of Interest-Group Liberalism 81
  • Notes 95
  • 7 - Native Peoples and Lockean Philosophy: Land Claims and Self-Government 97
  • References 109
  • 8: The Republican Tradition and Affirmative Action 111
  • References 125
  • 9 - Surrogate Motherhood: Contract, Gender, and Liberal Politics 127
  • Notes 141
  • References 141
  • 10 - Marx and the Computer 143
  • References 153
  • Selected Bibliography 157
  • Index 161
  • About the Contributors 165
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