Network speed and democratic politics

World Futures 64 (1):3 – 21 (2008)
Abstract
Through a systematic foregrounding of temporality as a framework of analysis, the dynamics of neo-liberal globalization and the revolution in ICTs constitute a new epistemological context. From this perspective the world as an economic, social, cultural, and political postmodernity becomes apparent. The article argues that liberal democracy was created and evolved in a specific context too. It was one formed through the interactions of Enlightenment thought and capitalist action - both of which were suffused by the temporality of the clock. For nearly three-hundred years we have taken for granted its meter of the clock as the measure of temporal reality, and have similarly accepted that liberal democracy functions on the same temporal basis. This has blinded us to a "social acceleration" that has developed through the convergence of neo-liberal economics and ICTs to the point where liberal democracy and its clock time functioning simply cannot synchronize with the times of the network society. Classical liberal democracy has been rendered ineffectual as a means of democratic action, and neo-liberal globalization offers nothing to replace it.
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