Monday, November 2, 2009

Google and

I felt like a recurring point in this week’s readings was new power dynamics between government and nongovernment due to new technology and media. Neoliberalist attitudes support this redistribution of power to nongovernment organizations in order to make government more accountable and accomplish what the government might not have the resources or interest in doing. But what happens when there is such a huge disparity in the use of technology between these nongovernmental groups and the government. And what is at stake when these non government groups are profit making corporations? What is the impact on governments when private companies can more effectively consolidate and distribute government information? While neoliberalism can be seen as a way to increase accountability and services that governments usually provide – what are the negative implications for governments when private companies not just replace but supercede government services? (Even if, as the Parks article indicates, even their services are not completely effective. Still they seem to be more and better than what the governments were coming up with)

The Google case study reminded me of the recent struggle between two websites dedicated to tracking the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act spending. and have both been tracking the distribution of stimulus money from the government into the country. Obviously one is maintained by the US government and the other is run through a private information company called ONVIA. Similarly to Google, ONVIA has been able to create a faster, more up to date and accurate tracking of spending than the government’s site. Even though what was being tracked was government spending. As Parks says about Google, “nation-states are unable to control the production and circulation of representations of their own territories” (9)

An interview with a CEO of ONIVA indicates that this competition between government and private information generated mostly a skepticism and distrust of the government. At what point does neoloberalist ideology and practices create not only accountability and support for government but undermines it?

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