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译文 | 加州意识形态 The Californian Ideology

californian ideology

(题图来自 Deterritorial Investigations

作者 Richard Barbrook 和 Andy Cameron,1995年9月1日刊于《Mute

‘Not to lie about the future is impossible and one can lie about it at will’ - Naum Gabo

「不对未来撒谎是不可能的,人们可以随意撒谎。」- Naum Gabo

There is an emerging global orthodoxy concerning the relation between society, technology and politics. We have called this orthodoxy ‘the Californian Ideology’ in honour of the state where it originated. By naturalising and giving a technological proof to a libertarian political philosophy, and therefore foreclosing on alternative futures, the Californian Ideologues are able to assert that social and political debates about the future have now become meaningless.

关于社会,技术和政治之间的关系,出现了一个新兴的全球性正统观点。 为了纪念其发源地,我们将这个正统称为「加州意识形态」。通过对自由主义的政治哲学进行归化和技术论证,从而排除其他未来,加州意识形态倡导者能够断言关于未来的社会和政治辩论已经变得毫无意义。

The California Ideology is a mix of cybernetics, free market economics, and counter-culture libertarianism and is promulgated by magazines such as WIRED and MONDO 2000 and preached in the books of Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly and others. The new faith has been embraced by computer nerds, slacker students, 30-something capitalists, hip academics, futurist bureaucrats and even the President of the USA himself. As usual, Europeans have not been slow to copy the latest fashion from America. While a recent EU report recommended adopting the Californian free enterprise model to build the ‘infobahn’, cutting-edge artists and academics have been championing the ‘post-human’ philosophy developed by the West Coast’s Extropian cult. With no obvious opponents, the global dominance of the Californian ideology appears to be complete.

加州意识形态是控制论、自由市场经济学和反文化自由主义的混合体,由 WIRED 和 MONDO 2000 等杂志提出,并在 Stewart Brand、Kevin Kelly 等人的著作中被广泛传播。这个新的信仰已经被计算机书呆子、懒惰的学生、30 来岁的资本家、嘻哈学者、未来主义官僚,甚至美国总统本人所拥抱。像往常一样,欧洲人从美国复制最新时尚的速度并不慢。尽管最近的一份欧盟报告推荐采用加州自由企业模式来建立「信息高速公路」,但前沿艺术家和学者一直在倡导由西海岸负熵崇拜者产生的「后人类」理念。在没有明显对手的情况下,加州意识形态的全球主导地位是全面的。

On superficial reading, the writings of the Californian ideologists are an amusing cocktail of Bay Area cultural wackiness and in-depth analysis of the latest developments in the hi-tech arts, entertainment and media industries. Their politics appear to be impeccably libertarian - they want information technologies to be used to create a new `Jeffersonian democracy’ in cyberspace in its certainties, the Californian ideology offers a fatalistic vision of the natural and inevitable triumph of the hi-tech free market.


Saint McLuhan


Back in the 60s, Marshall McLuhan preached that the power of big business and big government would be overthrown by the intrinsically empowering effects of new technology on individuals. The convergence of media, computing and telecommunications would inevitably result in an electronic direct democracy - the electronic agora - in which everyone would be able to express their opinions without fear of censorship.

早在60年代,Marshall McLuhan 就曾宣称,大企业和大政府的权力将被新技术对个人的内在赋权效应所推翻。媒体、计算机和电信的融合将不可避免地导致一个电子化的直接民主——电子集市——在其中的每个人都可以自由地发表意见而无需担心审查。

Encouraged by McLuhan’s predictions, West Coast radicals pioneered the use of new information technologies for the alternative press, community radio stations, home-brew computer clubs and video collectives.

受 McLuhan 预言的激励,西海岸激进分子率先使用新的信息技术来替代新闻媒体、社区广播、家酿电脑俱乐部和视频集体。

During the ’70s and ’80s, many of the fundamental advances in personal computing and networking were made by people influenced by the technological optimism of the new left and the counter-culture. By the ’90s, some of these ex-hippies had even become owners and managers of high-tech corporations in their own right and the pioneering work of the community media activists has been largely recuperated by hi-tech commerce.

在 70 和 80 年代,个人电脑和网络的许多根本性的进步都是由受新左派和反文化的技术乐观主义影响的人实现的。到了 90 年代,其中一些前嬉皮士凭自身实力甚至成为了高科技公司的所有者和管理者,而社区媒体活动家的开创性工作在很大程度上被高科技商业所恢复。

The Rise of the Virtual Class


Although companies in these sectors can mechanise and sub-contract much of their labour needs, they remain dependent on key people who can research and create original products, from software programs and computer chips to books and tv programmes. These skilled workers and entrepreneurs form the so-called ‘virtual class’: ‘…the techno-intelligentsia of cognitive scientists, engineers, computer scientists, video-game developers, and all the other communications specialists…’ (Kroker and Weinstein). Unable to subject them to the discipline of the assembly-line or replace them by machines, managers have organised such intellectual workers through fixed-term contracts. Like the ‘labour aristocracy’ of the last century, core personnel in the media, computing and telecoms industries experience the rewards and insecurities of the marketplace. On the one hand, these hi-tech artisans not only tend to be well-paid, but also have considerable autonomy over their pace of work and place of employment. As a result, the cultural divide between the hippie and the organisation man has now become rather fuzzy. Yet, on the other hand, these workers are tied by the terms of have no guarantee continued employment. Lacking the free time of the hippies, work itself ho become the main route to self-fulfilment for much of the ‘virtual class’.

尽管在这些领域的公司可以机械化和分包他们大部分的劳动力需求,但他们仍依赖于那些能够研究和创造原创产品的关键人物,从软件程序和电脑芯片到书籍和电视节目。这些有能力的工人和企业家组成了所谓的「虚拟阶级:」…「认知科学家、工程师、计算机科学家、视频游戏开发者以及所有其他通信专家构成的技术知识分子…」(Kroker 和 Weinstein)。由于不能使他们屈服于装配线的纪律或用机器替代他们,管理者便通过固定期限合同来组织这些知识工人。类似上世纪的「工人贵族」,媒体、计算机和电信行业的核心人员也体验到了市场的回报和不确定感。一方面,这些高科技工匠不仅通常收入丰厚,而且在工作的节奏和地点方面也有相当大的自主权。因此,嬉皮士和组织人之间的文化鸿沟已经变得相当模糊。然而,另一方面,这些工人被无法保证继续聘用的条款所束缚。缺乏嬉皮士的自由时间,工作本身成了许多「虚拟阶级」自我实现的主要途径。

Because these core workers are both a privileged part of the labour force and heirs of the radical ideas of the community media activists, the Californian Ideology simultaneously reflects the disciplines of market economics and the freedoms of hippie artisanship. This bizarre hybrid is only made possible through a nearly universal belief in technological determinism. Ever since the ’60s, liberals -in the social sense of the word - have hoped that the new information technologies would realise their ideals. Responding to the challenge of the New Left, the New Right has resurrected an older form of liberalism: economic liberalism. In place of the collective freedom sought by the hippie radicals, they have championed the liberty of individuals within the marketplace. From the `70s onwards, Muffler, de Sola Pool and other gurus attempted to prove that the advent of hypermedia would paradoxically involve a return to the economic liberalism of the past. This ‘retro-utopia echoed the predictions of Asimov, Heinlein and other macho sci-fi novelists whose future worlds were always filled with space traders, superslick salesmen, genius scientists, pirate captains and other rugged individualists. The path of technological progress leads back to the America of the Founding Fathers.

由于这些核心工作者既是劳动力中的特权角色,也是社区媒体活动家激进思想的继承人,加州意识形态同时反映了市场经济的纪律和嬉皮工匠的自由。这种奇异的混合只能通过对技术决定论的普遍共识才能成为可能。自 60 年代以来,社会意义上的自由主义者希望新的信息技术能够实现他们的理想。为了应对新左派的挑战,新右派恢复了一种老式的自由主义:经济自由主义。取代嬉皮激进分子所追求的集体自由,他们倡导市场中的个人自由。从 70 年代起,Muffler、de Sola Pool 和其他大师试图证明超媒体的出现将自我矛盾地导致回到过去的经济自由主义模式。这种「复古乌托邦」与 Asimov、Heinlein 和其他大男子主义科幻小说家的预言相呼应,他们的未来世界总是充斥着太空交易商、超级销售员、天才科学家、海盗船长和其他顽强的个人主义者。这种技术进步的道路可以追溯到美国的建国之父们。

Agora or Exchange - Direct Democracy or Free Trade?


With McLuhan as its patron saint, the Californian ideology has emerged from this unexpected collision of right-wing neo-liberalism, counter- culture radicalism and technological determinism - a hybrid ideology with all its ambiguities and contradictions intact. These contradictions are most pronounced in the opposing visions of the future which it holds simultaneously.

以 McLuhan 为其守护神,加州意识形态产生自右翼新自由主义、反文化激进主义和技术决定论的意外碰撞——这是一种混合的意识形态,其所有的含糊和矛盾是完好无损的。这些矛盾在其持有的对未来的对立愿景中体现得最为明显。

On the one side, the anti-corporate purity of the New Left has been preserved by the advocates of the ‘virtual community’. According to their guru, Howard Rheingold, the values of the counter-culture baby boomers will continue to shape the development of new information technologies.

一方面,新左派的反企业纯洁性被「虚拟社区」的拥护者所保护。他们的导师 Howard Rheingold 认为,婴儿潮一代的反文化价值观将继续影响新信息技术的发展。

Community activists will increasingly use hypermedia to replace corporate capitalism and big government with a hi-tech ‘gift economy’ in which information is freely exchanged between participants. In Rheingold’s view, the ‘virtual class’ is still in the forefront of the struggle for social liberation. Despite the frenzied commercial and political involvement in building the ‘information superhighway’, direct democracy within the electronic agora will inevitably triumph over its corporate and bureaucratic enemies.

社区活动家将越来越多地使用超媒体来取代企业资本主义和大政府,这是一种高科技的「礼品经济」,其中的信息可以在参与者之间自由地交换。在 Rheingold 看来,「虚拟阶级」仍处于社会解放斗争的前沿。尽管在建立「信息高速公路」的过程中,存在着狂乱的商业和政治介入,但电子集市内部的直接民主将不可避免地战胜它的企业和官僚主义敌人。

On the other hand, other West Coast ideologues have embraced the laissez faire ideology of their erstwhile conservative enemy. For example, Wired - the monthly bible of the ‘virtual class’ - has uncritically reproduced the views of Newt Gingrich , the extreme-right Republican leader of the House of Representatives, and the Tofflers, who are his close advisors. Ignoring their policies for welfare cutbacks, the magazine is instead mesmerised by their enthusiasm for the libertarian possibilities offered by new information technologies. Gingrich and the Tofflers claim that the convergence of media, computing and telecommunications will not create an electronic agora, but will instead lead to the apotheosis of the market, an electronic exchange within which everybody can become a free trader.

另一方面,其他西海岸意识形态倡导者已经拥护了他们昔日保守敌人的自由主义意识形态。例如,Wired——「虚拟阶级」的月刊圣经——不加批判地再现了众议院极右翼共和党领袖 Newt Gingrich 和他的亲信 Tofflers 的观点。忽略了他们的福利消减政策,杂志反而被他们对新信息技术提供的自由主义可能性的热情所吸引。Gingrich 和 Tofflers 宣称,媒体、计算机和电信的融合将不会创造出一个电子集市,而是会产生完美的市场,一个人人都可以成为自由贸易者的电子交易所。

In this version of the Californian Ideology, each member of the ‘virtual class’ is promised the opportunity to become a successful hi-tech entrepreneur. Information technologies, so the argument goes, empower the individual, enhance personal freedom, and radically reduce the power of the nation-state. Existing social, political and legal power structures will wither away to be replaced by unfettered interactions between autonomous individuals and their software. These restyled McLuhanites vigorously argue that big government should stay off the backs of resourceful entrepreneurs who are the only people cool and courageous enough to take risks. Indeed, attempts to interfere with the emergent properties of technological and economic forces, particularly by the government, merely rebound on those who are foolish enough to defy the primary laws of nature. The free market is the sole mechanism capable of building the future and ensuring a full flowering of individual liberty within the electronic circuits of Jeffersonian cyberspace. As in Heinlein’s and Asimov’s sci-fi novels, the path forwards to the future seems to lead backwards to the past.

在这个版本的加州意识形态中,「虚拟阶级」的每个成员都被承诺拥有成为一位成功的高科技企业家的机会。信息技术,照此说法,赋予个体权力,增强个人自由,并从根本上削弱了民族国家的力量。现有的社会、政治和法律权力结构将逐渐消失,取而代之的是自主个体及其软件之间不受约束的交互。这些改头换面的麦克卢汉主义者强烈主张,大政府应该远离足智多谋的企业家,他们是唯一足够冷静、敢于冒险的人。事实上,试图干扰技术和经济力量的紧急属性,特别是政府所为,仅仅是对那些愚蠢到违背自然法则的人的反弹。自由市场是在杰斐逊式网络空间的电子电路中建立未来并确保个人自由繁荣的唯一机制。就像在 Heinlein 和 Asimov 的科幻小说中一样,通向未来之路似乎指回了过去。

The Myth of the Free Market


Almost every major technological advance of the last two hundred years has taken place with the aid of large amounts of public money and under a good deal of government influence. The technologies of the computer and the Net were invented with the aid of massive state subsidies. For example, the first Difference Engine project received a British Government grant of £517,470 - a small fortune in 1834. From Colossus to EDVAC, from flight simulators to virtual reality, the development of- computing has depended at key moments on public research handouts or fat contracts with public agencies. The IBM corporation built the first programmable digital computer only after it was requested to do so by the US Defense Department during the Korean War. The result of a lack of state intervention meant that Nazi Germany lost the opportunity to build the first electronic computer in the late ’30s when the Wehrmacht refused to fund Konrad Zuze, who had pioneered the use of binary code, stored programs and electronic logic gates.

近两百年来,几乎所有重大的技术进步都是借助于大量公共资金的资助,并在很大程度上受到政府影响。计算机和网络技术是在国家的大量补贴下发明的。例如,第一个差分机项目获得了英国政府 £517,470 的拨款——在1834年这已经是一笔巨款。从 Colossus 到 EDVAC,从飞行模拟器到虚拟现实,计算的发展都依赖于关键时刻的公共研究捐款或政府机构的巨额合同。IBM 在朝鲜战争期间应美国国防部的要求,才建造了第一台可编程的数字计算机。缺乏国家干预导致了纳粹德国在 30 年代后期失去了建造第一台电子计算机的机会,当时德国国防军拒绝资助开创了二进制编码、存储程序和电子逻辑门的使用的 Konrad Zuze。

One of the weirdest things about the Californian Ideology is that the West Coast itself is a product of massive state intervention. Government dollars were used to build the irrigation systems, high-ways, schools, universities and other infrastructural projects which make the good life possible. On top of these public subsidies, the West Coast hi-tech industrial complex has been feasting off the fattest pork barrel in history for decades. The US government has poured billions of tax dollars into buying planes, missiles, electronics and nuclear bombs from Californian companies. Americans have always had state planning, but they prefer to call it the defence budget.


All of this public funding has had an enormously beneficial - albeit unacknowledged and uncosted - effect on the subsequent development of Silicon Valley and other hi-tech industries. Entrepreneurs often have an inflated sense of their own ‘creative act of will’ in developing new ideas and give little recognition to the contributions made by either the state or their own labour force. However, all technological progress is cumulative - it depends on the results of a collective historical process and must be counted, at least in part, as a collective achievement. Hence, as in every other industrialised country, American entrepreneurs have in fact relied on public money and state intervention to nurture and develop their industries. When Japanese companies threatened to take over the American microchip market, the libertarian computer capitalists of California had no ideological qualms about joining a state-sponsored cartel organised by the state to fight off the invaders from the East!


Masters and Slaves


Despite the central role played by public intervention in developing hypermedia, the Californian Ideology is a profoundly anti-statist dogma. The ascendancy of this dogma is a result of the failure of renewal in the USA during the late ’60s and early ’70s. Although the ideologues of California celebrate the libertarian individualism of the hippies, they never discuss the political or social demands of the counter-culture. Individual freedom is no longer to be achieved by rebelling against the system, but through submission to the natural laws of technological progress and the free market. In many cyberpunk novels and films, this asocial libertarianism is expressed by the central character of the lone individual fighting for survival within a virtual world of information.

尽管公共干预在超媒体的发展方面起到了核心作用,但加州意识形态却是一个极度反集权的信条。这种信条的支配地位是美国在 60 年代末和 70 年代初革新失败的产物。尽管加州意识形态的倡导者们赞颂嬉皮士的自由个人主义,但他们从不讨论反文化的政治或社会需求。个人自由不再是通过反抗体制来实现的,而是通过服从于技术进步和自由市场的自然法则。在许多赛博朋克的小说和电影中,这种反社交的自由主义表现为一个在虚拟的信息世界中为生存而奋斗的孤胆英雄。

In American folklore, the nation was built out of a wilderness by free-booting individuals - the trappers, cowboys, preachers, and settlers of the frontier. Yet this primary myth of the American republic ignores the contradiction at the heart of the American dream: that some individuals can prosper only through the suffering of others. The life of Thomas Jefferson - the man behind the ideal of `Jeffersonian democracy’ - clearly demonstrates the double nature of liberal individualism. The man who wrote the inspiring call for democracy and liberty in the American declaration of independence was at the same time one of the largest slave-owners in the country.

根据美国的民间传说,这个国家是由自由放逐的人——猎人、牛仔、传教士、拓荒者——建立起来的。然而,美国共和国的这个主要传说忽略了美国梦的核心矛盾:部分人的富裕建立在其他人的痛苦之上。Thomas Jefferson 的生活——「杰斐逊式民主」理想背后的人——清楚地表明了自由个人主义的双重本质,在美国《独立宣言》中号召民主和自由的那个人同时也是这个国家最大的奴隶主之一。

Despite emancipation and the civil rights movement, racial segregation still lies at the centre of American politics - especially in California. Behind the rhetoric of individual freedom lies the master’s fear of the rebellious slave. In the recent elections for governor in California, the Republican candidate won through a vicious anti-immigrant campaign. Nationally, the triumph of Gingrich’s neoliberals in the legislative elections was based on the mobilizations of “angry white males” against the supposed threat from black welfare scroungers, immigrants from Mexico and other uppity minorities.

尽管有了解放和民权运动,种族隔离仍然是美国政治的中心,尤其是在加州。在个人自由的修辞背后,隐藏着主人对叛逆奴隶的恐惧。在最近的加州州长选举中,共和党候选人赢得了一场邪恶的反移民运动。在全国范围内,Gingrich 的新自由主义在立法选举中所取得的胜利,是基于「愤怒的白人男性」的动员,他们反对假想中来自黑人福利骗子、墨西哥移民和其他少数族裔的威胁。

The hi-tech industries are an integral part of this racist Republican coalition. However, the exclusively private and corporate construction of cyberspace can only promote the fragmentation of American society into antagonistic, racially-determined classes. Already ‘redlined’ by profit-hungry telcos, the inhabitants of poor inner city areas can be shut out of the new on-line services through lack of money. In contrast, yuppies and their children can play at being cyberpunks in a virtual world without having to meet any of their impoverished neighbours. Working for hi-tech and new media corporations, many members of the ‘virtual class’ would like to believe that new technology will somehow solve America’s social, racial and economic problems without any sacrifices on their part. Alongside the ever-widening social divisions, another apartheid between the ‘information-rich’ and the ‘information-poor’ is being created. Yet calls for the telcos to be forced to provide universal access to the information superstructure for all citizens are denounced in Wired magazine as being inimical to progress. Whose progress?

高科技产业是这个种族主义共和联盟的重要组成部分。然而,私营和上市企业建造的网络空间只会促进美国社会分裂为对立的、种族决定论的阶级。由于缺乏资金,内陆城市贫困地区的居民已经被渴求利润的电信公司所「屏蔽」,他们可能因为缺钱而被拒之门外。相反,雅皮士和他们的孩子们可以在虚拟世界里成为赛博朋克,而不必去见他们贫穷的邻居。为高科技和新媒体公司工作的许多「虚拟阶级」成员都乐于相信,新技术将在某种程度上解决美国的社会、种族和经济问题,而无需他们做出任何牺牲。除了不断扩大的社会分歧之外,「信息富裕」和「信息匮乏」这一另类的种族隔离正在形成。然而,要求电信公司强制提供对所有公民的信息上层建筑的普适访问的呼声,被 Wired 杂志谴责为不利于进步。是谁的进步呢?

The Dumb Waiter


As Hegel pointed out, the tragedy of the masters is that they cannot escape from dependence on their slaves. Rich white Californians need their darker-skinned fellow humans to work in their factories, pick their crops, look after their children and tend their gardens. Unable to surrender wealth and power, the white people of California can instead find spiritual solace in their worship of technology. If human slaves are ultimately unreliable, then mechanical ones will have to be invented. The search for the holy grail of Artificial Intelligence reveals this desire for the Golem - a strong and loyal slave whose skin is the colour of the earth and whose innards are made of sand. Techno-utopians imagine that it is possible to obtain slave-like labour from inanimate machines. Yet, although technology can store or amplify labour, it can never remove the necessity for humans to invent, build and maintain the machines in the first place. Slave labour cannot be obtained without somebody being enslaved. At his estate at Monticello, Jefferson invented many ingenious gadgets - including a ‘dumb waiter’ to mediate contact with his slaves. In the late twentieth century, it is not surprising that this liberal slave-owner is the hero of those who proclaim freedom while denying their brown-skinned fellow citizens those democratic rights said to be inalienable.

正如 Hegel 所指出的,主人的悲剧在于他们无法摆脱对奴隶的依赖。富有的加州白人需要他们的有色伙伴在他们的工厂工作,采摘他们的庄稼,照顾他们的孩子,照料他们的花园。由于无法交出财富和权力,加州的白人可以在他们对技术的崇拜中找到精神慰藉。如果人类奴隶终将变得不可靠,那么就必然需要发明机械奴隶。追寻人工智能的圣杯解释了这种对机器人的渴望——一个强壮而忠诚的奴隶,它的肤色是地球的颜色,它的内脏由沙子所构成。技术乌托邦主义者认为,从无生命的机器中获得奴隶般的劳动力是可能的。然而,尽管技术可以存储或放大劳动力,但它永远不能消除人类首先发明、建造和维护机器的必要性。奴隶劳动不能在没有人被奴役的情况下获得。在他的 Monticello 庄园里,Jefferson 发明了许多精巧的小玩意——包括一个「哑巴侍者」,用来与他的奴隶们进行间接的接触。无怪乎在 20 世纪晚期,自由主义的奴隶主是那些宣称自由但却否认他们的棕色皮肤同胞权利的人们的英雄,而这些民主权利据说是不可剥夺的。

Foreclosing the Future


The prophets of the Californian Ideology argue that only the cybernetic flows and chaotic eddies of free markets and global communications will determine the future. Political debate therefore, is a waste of breath. As libertarians, they assert that the will of the people, mediated by democratic government, is a dangerous heresy which interferes with the natural and efficient freedom to accumulate property. As technological determinists, they believe that human social and emotional ties obstruct the efficient evolution of the machine. Abandoning democracy and social solidarity, the Californian Ideology dreams of a digital nirvana inhabited solely by liberal psychopaths.


There are Alternatives


Despite its claims to universality, the Californian ideology was developed by a group of people living within one specific country following a particular choice of socio-economic and technological development. Their eclectic blend of conservative economics and hippie libertarianism reflects the history of the West Coast - and not the inevitable future of the rest of the world. The hi-tech ideologues proclaim that there is only one road forward. Yet, in reality, debate has never been more possible or more necessary. The Californian model is only one among many.


Within the European Union, the recent history of France provides practical proof that it is possible to use state intervention alongside market competition to nurture new technologies and to ensure their benefits are diffused among the population as a whole.


Following the victory of the Jacobins over their liberal opponents in 1792, the democratic republic in France became the embodiment of the ‘general will’. As such, the state attempted to represent the interests of all citizens, rather than just protect the rights of individual property-owners. The French revolution went beyond liberalism to democracy. Emboldened by this popular legitimacy, the government was able to influence industrial development.

在 1792 年雅各宾派击败其自由主义对手之后,法国的民主共和成为了「共同意志」的化身。因此,国家试图代表所有公民的利益,而不是仅仅保护个人财产所有者的权利。法国革命超越自由主义并走向民主。受这种大众合法性的鼓舞,政府能够影响产业发展。

For instance, the MINITEL network built up its critical mass of users through the nationalised telco giving away free terminals. Once the market had been created, commercial and community providers were then able to find enough customers to thrive. Learning from the French experience, it would seem obvious that European and national bodies should exercise more precisely targeted regulatory control, investment, and state direction over the development of hypermedia, rather than less.

例如,MINITEL 网络通过国有化的电信运营商免费提供终端,建立起了其关键用户群。一旦市场被建立起来,商业和社区服务商就能找到足够的客户来成长。从法国的经验中可以看出,欧洲各国的机构应试图更准确地针对超媒体的发展进行监管、投资和国家引导,而非更少。

The lesson of MINITEL is that hypermedia within Europe should be developed as a hybrid of state intervention, capitalist entrepreneurship and d.i.y. culture. No doubt the ‘infobahn’ will create a mass market for private companies to sell existing information commodities - films, tv programmes, music and books, across the Net. Once people can distribute as well as receive hypermedia, a flourishing of community media, niche markets and special interest groups will emerge. However, for all this to happen the state must play an active part. In order to realise the interests of all citizens, the ‘general will’ must be realised, at least partially, through public institutions.

MINITEL 的经验是,欧洲的超媒体应该被发展成国家干预、资本创业和 DIY 文化的混合体。毫无疑问,「信息高速公路」将为私营企业创造一个大众市场,让它们通过网络销售现有的信息产品——电影、电视、音乐和书籍。一旦人们能够传播和接收超媒体,繁荣的社区媒体、小众市场和特殊利益集团将会出现。然而,国家为此必须发挥积极的作用。为了实现全体公民的利益,「共同意志」必须,至少是部分,通过公共机构实现。

The Californian Ideology rejects notions of community and of social progress and seeks to chain humanity to the rocks of economic and technological fatalism. Once upon a time, west coast hippies played a key role in creating our contemporary vision of social liberation. As a consequence, feminism, drug culture, gay liberation and ethnic identity have, since the 1960s, ceased to be marginal issues. Ironically, it is now California which has become the centre of the ideology which denies the relevance of these new social subjects.

加州意识形态否定了社区和社会进步的观念,并试图将人类束缚在经济和技术宿命论的岩石上。曾几何时,西海岸的嬉皮士在创造社会解放的当代愿景中发挥了关键作用。因而,自 20 世纪 60 年代起,女权主义、毒品文化、同性恋自由和民族认同就不再是边缘问题。讽刺的是,现在的加州已经成为否认这些新社会主题的相关性的意识形态中心。

It is now necessary for us to assert our own future - if not in circumstances of our own choosing. After twenty years, we need to reject once and forever the loss of nerve expressed by post-modernism. We can do more than ‘play with the pieces’ created by avant-gardes of the past.


We need to debate what kind of hypermedia suit our vision of society - how we create the interactive products and on-line services we want to use, the kind of computers we like and the software we find most useful. We need to find ways to think socially and politically about the machines we develop. While learning from the can-do attitude of the Californian individualists, we also must recognise that the potentiality of hypermedia can never solely be realised through market forces. We need an economy which can unleash the creative powers of hi-tech artisans. Only then can we fully grasp the Promethean opportunities of hypermedia as humanity moves into the next stage of modernity.


  1. 事实上,它是一种机械装置,在有两层楼以上的餐厅用于送餐的升降机。