Margolis, Michael. Resnick, David. "Politics as Usual: The Cyberspace “Revolution”." Sage Publications Inc. p205 (17)., 2000

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Abstract:

Chapter 9; Democracy and Cyberspace: A Peek Into the Future.

Section One; “How the Net Will Not Contribute to Democracy”

Bottom line, the changes the Internet will bring to democracy will be important but hardly revolutionary. The authors mention that it is commonly believed that the Internet is a way to combat elite domination however evidence shows that the elite (corporations, wealthy, the privileged) are moving into cyberspace and dominating there anyway. The authors don’t see any shift in power from the haves to the have-nots because the have-nots are not able to exploit the democratic potential of the Internet.

Section Two: “ How the Net Will Contribute to Democracy”

Interestingly the authors cite economic development as possibly the most profound effect the Internet has to offer democracy. Since economic development promotes stabilized democratic regimes. The authors agree that the Internet is a tool that can be used to enhance democratic participation. They also believe that the Internet will help dissidents in authoritarian societies since it will be difficult to control sources of public information. This section concludes that the Internet will continue to be a device that will benefit those who are already active and have a sustained interest in public affairs. There is little evidence to support the notion that the Internet will increase public participation overall.

In the section on the Digital Divide the authors basically say that the US is well off compared to the rest of the world. Given time those connected worldwide will press for new infrastructure that will bring others online. Again, the economic benefits will increase the numbers of citizens on the Internet.

In the section entitled, “The Internet and Hopes for World Peace”, the authors hold out little hope that the Internet will induce world peace and understanding. However, and again, they feel there will be a significant impact on international trade – again economics. The Internet will foster international competitiveness and create new opportunities

The final section, “Setting Internet Policy in the Years Ahead” summarizes that, as the Internet becomes part of everyday life, policy will evolve. The Internet affects nations differently and the differences will have to be worked out. Some policy issues are not so different in cyberspaces as they are in real space, the idea that the Internet requires a totally new approach to public policy is questioned.