Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

HOW IT CAME TO RULE THE WORLD, 1.0 and 1.1

Posted on | March 23, 2010 | No Comments

This is the sixth post in the mini-series How IT Came to Rule the World

1.0       Regime One: Containment Capitalism

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

– President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 1961

1.1 Before the World War II was over, the Roosevelt administration began planning a new international regime with its key allies at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. This new organization of the US, its Allies, and soon the occupied Axis countries would continue and expand on the New Deal’s policy of financial containment, channel capital resources into nation-oriented activities, and stabilize the post-war trading environment. It faced and challenged two threats. Continuing in a vein that reached back to the Great Crash of 1929, it first sought to contain the unbridled finance capitalism that had failed so miserably and precipitated the Great Depression that ravaged the US and much of the world in the 1930s. To this end it initiated a new world order for currency stabilization and the formation of several related institutions, namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Second, having faced down fascist corporatism during World War II, it set its sights on international communism. Stalin’s USSR (which refuses to participate in the Bretton Woods negotiations) and later the People’s Republic of China presented an aggressive alternative to the Western system of capitalism and democratic elections. To these ends a massive mobilization of capital and technological means was initiated. Over the next few decades, tensions increased and investments in military electronics and space-based technologies led to the first electronic computers and major advances in telecommunications, including satellites for remote sensing and communications. Eventually these would radically transform the military as well as international finance, and then start to enter the immediacy of daily life of the global population.

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    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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