Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The New Feudalism

We appear to be headed into a New Feudalism. But unlike the old Feudalism of a thousand years ago, when wealth was based on land, or real property, the New Feudal order is based on knowledge, or intellectual property.

It’s ironic that in the Information Age, knowledge is becoming private property. If you can’t afford to know, you don’t deserve to know.

No one begrudges an inventor or artist a fair return on an idea. But what we’re seeing is much more. The old humanist tradition seems to be dying before our eyes. The honorable liberal arts notion of pursuing and sharing knowledge is being replaced by the courts-sanctioned ownership of knowledge.

As in the old system, few have much and many have little. The new model threatens a return to what Carl Sagan called ‘a demon-haunted world,’ where superstition, magical thinking and ignorance are honored. Gullibility replaces faith; rhetoric trumps reason; sound bytes replace critical thinking.

Too often this ignorance and superstition is promoted by our institutions – government, business, religion – wishing to keep the electorate, the consumers, the faithful in a state of suspended superstition. Literally dumb-founded. What will you do about this?


Blogger a compact with america said...

What powerful stuff you write, Tom. I hope you haven't quit!

Wayne Robinson
Ft. Myers, Florida

9:28 AM  

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