Evgeny Morozov on Tim O’Reilly — April 28, 2013

Evgeny Morozov on Tim O’Reilly

I would like to commend to your favorable attention this Evgeny Morozov essay on Tim O’Reilly. If any essay ever owned the noun “takedown”, it is this one. O’Reilly, in this telling, is yet another popular Internet “philosopher” wearing his libertarian blinders. There’s no need for politics in this world — only more private actors’ economic bodies bouncing off one another inelastically like financial billiard balls. Once again (documenting this is a Baffler staple), what could have been a revolution in values and in the basic structure of our institutions (personified in this essay by Richard Stallman — and actually, the shoe fits) is transformed into this generation’s Tom Peters.

There’s a lot I could quote from in here. I’ll leave you with this:

> Sorting through the six thousand or so academic papers that cite OReillys essay on Web 2.0 is no easy feat. It seems that anyone who wanted to claim that a revolution was under way in their own field did so simply by invoking the idea of Web 2.0 in their work: Development 2.0, Nursing 2.0, Humanities 2.0, Protest 2.0, Music 2.0, Research 2.0, Library 2.0, Disasters 2.0, Road Safety 2.0, Identity 2.0, Stress Management 2.0, Archeology 2.0, Crime 2.0, Pornography 2.0, Love 2.0, Wittgenstein 2.0. What unites most of these papers is a shared background assumption that, thanks to the coming of Web 2.0, we are living through unique historical circumstances. Except that there was no coming of Web 2.0it was just a way to sell a technology conference to a public badly burned by the dotcom crash. Why anyone dealing with stress management or Wittgenstein would be moved by the logistics of conference organizing is a mystery.

(Thanks to an employee — an owner, I believe — at the Harvard Book Store for pointing me to the latest Baffler.)