One of this weeks readings was my Robert McChesney titled “How can the political economy of communication help us understand the Internet?”. In this reading, McChesney describes the political economy of communication and ties it back into the digital era that we live in today. McChesney is able to do this effectively since this article was written just last year in 2013.
Robert graduated with a bachelor in economics and history from Evergreen State College in 1977. Right out of college he worked as a circulation coordinator and as editor for two different newspaper companies. He went back to school and earned a masters degree in communications from the University of Washington in 1986. He then came and taught at arguably the best school in the nation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught journalism and mass communication. He then went on to work at the University of Illinois, where he spent the most of his time. McChesney’s work is authentic and credible in his field. He has written or edited 23 books so far.
This specific article was written in McChesney’s book Digital Divide. It seems that his main idea is that the world that the Internet has been let into foretells a deprived future. He ties this back into communication by trying to bring it with capitalism. He accomplishes this through the introduction of Political Economy of Communication (PEC) whose main job is to decide if new media and communication affect societal power. McChesney brings up an interesting idea when he talks about digital society and that is if the Internet will conceive the fourth great communication transformation in history. He says speech is the first, and then writing, followed by print. I feel like the point he is trying to make about this fourth element is that our society will continue to be in this digital age and become indispensable, whether that is for the better or worse. I believe for the worse. Another key point that he brings up is the free market. I totally agree with what talks about in this section and that is that entertainment system is profoundly dependent on the government. They always have and people thought they always would. This has seemed to shift since the digital era with the new technology of illegal downloading and torrenting files. You can literally find almost anything you want out on the Internet and download it for free illegally. The government is trying to do the best they can to regulate it to keep they entertainment companies afloat, but millions of downloads go without penalty. In the end PEC must assess these considerations and come up with rules to regulate the powerful media industries by applying laws. One final point is that McChesney wants people to demand participation in the making of these rules.
This article was accepted and thought highly of from his audience. Who seemed to be made up of political activists but can be read by anyone interesting in the communicative and political side of the Internet. Nonetheless, the readers seemed to perceive this book in a positive manner.
Department of Communication. (2014). Robert W. McChesney. [Online]. Available at
<http://www.communication.illinois.edu/people/rwmcches> [Accessed 14 October 2014]
McChesney, R.W. (2013). How Can the Political Economy of Communication Help Us Understand the Internet? Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy (pp. 63-95). New York, New York: The New Press.
"Robert McChesney - Discover the Networks." Robert McChesney - Discover the Networks. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. <http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp? indid=2227>.