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Chapter 10 - Technology Forces Change

from Part II - Change Agents, in Theory and Practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2023

Fathali M. Moghaddam
Affiliation:
Georgetown University
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Summary

The electronics revolution was assumed to help democratization around the world. Enormous changes were expected to come about, opening up societies as people gained access to more and more information. The electronics revolution was supposed to open the world and open minds and societies around the world. In this sense, it was assumed that political plasticity would increase through electronic communications. However, as discussed in this chapter, the impact of the electronics revolution has been mixed and far more complex. First, dictators have learned to limit and censor electronic communications within their own borders (e.g., the Great Firewall of China). Second, dictatorships such as Russia and China have used electronic communications to influence events in countries around the world, working to strengthen dictatorships and weaken democracies. Third, the masses in democracies do not have the critical thinking skills needed to avoid being influenced by conspiracy theories and false information, spread by authoritarian strongmen (such as Donald Trump) and their supporters. Consequently, political plasticity has not been changed much through the electronic revolution. For example, mass participation in decision-making has not happened.

Type
Chapter
Information
Political Plasticity
The Future of Democracy and Dictatorship
, pp. 115 - 127
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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