The web and political philosophy

by Russ Roberts on June 18, 2007

in Podcast, Politics

The latest EconTalk podcast is with David Weinberger talking about the ideas in his book, Everything is Miscellaneous.

I found the book very interesting. He explores the implications of some of the latest web developments such as tagging, social sites, and wikipedia for how we consume and think about information. I found his discussion of tagging particularly interesting. By tagging stuff (pictures, websites, blogs) with keywords, we organize stuff in a totally different way than if we simply bookmarked stuff and put it in folders.

One question I asked him about was the implication of the evolution of the web for one’s political philosophy. Weinberger was Howard Dean’s internet advisor. So I thought he might be
uncomfortable being involved with a more top-down set of policy
positions. He didn’t really bite. But on his blog, he talks about how a hyper-linked world is a post-modern world, which is more conducive to left-leaning policies. Seems to me the essence of the web is a decentralized world, a world whether information and power and ideas and solutions don’t have to be top-down but are more likely to be bottom-up. It would seem to me that if you’re a fan of tagging and social web sites and wikipedia, it’s hard to embrace centralized solutions to social problems. But maybe not.

Check out the podcast. He has a lot of insights into the web and information and how we look at the world.


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