Franklin (2004). Chapter 9 (The Real World Of Technology).

Franklin, U. M. (2004). Chapter 9 (The Real World Of Technology). In The Real World of Technology (Revised edition). Toronto: House of Anansi Press.

“Fascination with new technologies can change the focus of our perception of what is actual and real.” (p 157)

“Throughout history, language, law, and custom have been identified vertically in terms of locale …” (p 158)

“We all know specific realities of the increasing dominance of horizontal activities: goods and parts are manufactured overseas for sale here; services are offered by voices identified by first names only from call centres located who knows where; our newcasts contain stock market news from around the world as frequently as they bring local traffic reports.” (p 159)

“In 1955, 43 percent of the income tax collected by the governments of Canada came from corporations, the rest from personal income taxes. In 1995 the corporations’ share was 11 percent.2” (p 160)

“… those who most need the mass produced goods — and this includes food, medicine, and clothing — do not have the means to purchase the very items they often make.4 At the same time, those who have disposable incomes have become more discriminating, as well as somewhat satiated. All in all, consumerism isn’t what it used to be.” (p 162)

“The shift of profit making from direct production to investment has not changed the active support of commerce by the state, but it has drastically changed its support strategies. These changes have led to a remarkable shift in the relationship between the state and its citizens, a shift not often commented upon.” (p 163)

“Many public institutions are structured and regulated with local requirements and shared values in mind, not the least of them the democratic conviction that the needs of some — such as children, the elderly, or the infirm — are not a source of profit for others. Yet the recent privatization of many public sector functions and the deregulation of their operations have meant that the government has opened the vertical, community-rooted tasks — traditionally entrusted to the oversight of the state — to the horizontal forces of global investment. Thus the state has delivered the most dependent of its citizens, as well as resources held in trust, as new investment opportunities to the global market.” (p 163)

“I regret that public and local discussions on the impact of the new technologies on life in Canada have had so little impact on the governance of our country.” (p 164)

Selected Notes

  • 2. Walter Stewart, Dismantling the State (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1998), 294-5.
  • 4. Consult, for instance, the monthly magazine New Internationalist for reports on world poverty and inequality, and the reports of the relevant agencies of the United Nations.
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