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1984 and Neo-Feudalism

If Orwell updated Nineteen Eighty-Four to suit the times, he would have included the IT industry in the Inner and Outer Parties of power. Big Brother would still be the government, but it would be advised by the IT industry, which provides its surveillance technology and vast troves of data on its citizens. Big Brother would understand that because the IT industry controlled or had access to all digital information, it represented a real threat to government monopoly power.

 

Meanwhile, the “Proles,” or regular citizens, would continue to suffer, caught now between a weak government that increasingly depended on the threat of use of force, and the actual use of force, for authority; and a libertarian IT oligarchy that appropriated and sold their private information to keep the consumption treadmill going, while relentlessly lobbying government to avoid oversight and regulation. The IT oligarchy would isolate itself from the citizens it claimed to serve, through the proxy of middleman technological “solutions” that provided few jobs and little original value, and by living behind gated, surveilled communities on a hill, much like the feudal estates of old.

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