City Research Online

Capitalism, Information and Democracy

Webster, F. (2009). Capitalism, Information and Democracy. Communications and Convergence Review, 1(1), pp. 15-31.


Debate as regards the relation between democracy and information has been dominated by the concept of public sphere, one that has presupposed over recent decades state subsidy of information and communication resources. In contrast, this article reviews criticisms presented by pro-market analyses of inadequacies of state involvement. It proceeds to examine and engage their argument that capitalism is capable of meeting the informational needs of people when left to its own devices, especially in an era of new media developments. Capitalism can even be presented as an information system that is, in key respects, inherently democratic. The essay continues to address a further pro-market view, which suggests that concern for information in democracies is misplaced. This position contends that capitalism is crucial for liberal democracy, but that an information infrastructure - especially one subsidized by the state - is not vital for democracy's effective functioning. The policy advice of this position is unambiguous: keep the state out of information and communications domains.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Information, Democracy, Capitalism, Public Sphere, Hayek, Fukuyama
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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