Monday, October 4, 2010

Facebook, Freedom, and a New Political Structure

Spurred on by Malcolm Gladwell's piece on social networks and the way they could potentially undermine autocratic states (I haven't read Gladwell's piece because I never received the refund I requested for buying and attempting to read Blink) set off a conversation between Matt Steinglass, Matthew Yglesias, and then a response by Steinglass.

The whole debate seems a little too much like navel-gazing to me, but in Steinglass's response he makes a statement I 100% agree with, but couldn't have said so well:

It is possible that single-party rule by a self-selecting, self-reproducing political elite that allows cultural and entrepreneurial freedom is a viable model for a modern state.

I think this is the lesson of modern China, and it is a lesson that won't be lost on future aspiring autocrats. Remember when capitalism would lead to democracy? I read an awful book about it in college. I think it's a flawed hypothesis.

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