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Capitalism and the Information Age: The Political Economy of the Global Communication Revolution


Not a day goes by that we don’t see a news clip, hear a radio report, or read an article heralding the miraculous new technologies of the information age. The communication revolution associated with these technologies is often heralded as the key to a new age of “globalization.” How is all of this reshaping the labor force, transforming communications, changing the potential for democracy, and altering the course of history itself? Capitalism and the Information Age presents a rigorous examination of some of the most crucial problems and possibilities of these novel technologies. Taken together, the essays reveal how the new information technologies have been grafted onto a global capitalist system characterized by vast and growing inequality, economic stagnation, market saturation, financial instability, urban crisis, social polarization, graded access to information, and economic degradation.

Contents & Contributors

  1. The Political Economy of Global Communication by Robert W. McChesney
  2. Modernity, Postmodernity, or Capitalism? by Ellen Meiksins Wood
  3. Virtual Capitalism by Michael Dawson and John Bellamy Foster
  4. Democracy and the New Technologies by Ken Hirschkop
  5. Global Village or Cultural Pillage? The Unequal Inheritance of the Communications Revolution by Peter Golding
  6. The U.S. Rules, OK?: Telecommunications Since the 1940s by Jill Hills
  7. The Privatization of Telecommunications by Nicholas Baran
  8. Selling Our Children: Channel One and the Politics of Education by Michael W. Apple
  9. Challenging Capitalism in Cyberspace: The Information Highway, the Postindustrial Economy, and People by Heather Menzies
  10. Work, New Technology, and Capitalism by Peter Meiksins
  11. Fighting Neoliberalism in Canadian Telecommunications by Elaine Bernard and Sid Schniad
  12. Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind by Noam Chomsky
  13. The Propaganda Model Revisited by Edward Herman
  14. Information Technology and Socialist Self-Management by Andy Pollack

Anyone concerned about the direction the information revolution is taking should read this book. The subjects covered are far-ranging… [The] essays are clearly written, making the book accessible to a broad range of readers. In short, highest recommendation…


Explains in very concrete terms how the global communication revolution is still firmly controlled by capital, and that the ‘freedom’ of expression we enjoy today is really shaped by a few mega-corporations who own virtually all of the media and entertainment industries.

Development in Practice

Robert W. McChesney teaches journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy and Rich Media, Poor Democracy (2000, pbk. edition). Ellen Meiksins Wood is the author of numerous books including The Retreat from Class (1986, winner of the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize), The Origin of Capitalism (1999), The Pristine Culture of Capitalism (1991), and Democracy Against Capitalism (1995), co-author with Neal Wood of A Trumpet of Sedition (1997), and co-editor of In Defense of History (1997), and Rising from the Ashes?: Labor in the Age of Global Capitalism (1999). John Bellamy Foster is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He is the author of The Vulnerable Planet (1999) and Marx’s Ecology (2000) and co-editor of In Defense of History (1996).

SKU: mrp9894 Categories: ,

Publication Date: December 1998

Number of Pages: 256

Paperback ISBN: 9780853459897