Global Control

Global Control

Information Technology and Globalization since 1845

Peter McMahon

Global Control aims to achieve a clearer understanding of the long process of globalization by focusing on the crucial role of information and control technologies. Information systems and control technologies are key to globalization and, while generally facilitating the overall trend to spatial reorganization, they also effect change through the pervasive influence of ‘internal systems logic’. Thus, the author argues, the dominant institutions of states, firms and markets transform global development and are themselves transformed by key information technologies. More specifically the book identifies the key phases of modern globalization and analyses the crucial role played by different information technologies at each point in time.

Chapter 1: Social Organization, Control and Information Technology

Peter McMahon

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, international business, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy


We currently live in what is sometimes called modern society and more recently global society. Most fundamentally this book is concerned with the ways in which this progressively more clearly defined form of human society organizes itself, since this organization is the basic condition within which we all live out our lives. More specifically, the book is concerned with the role of technology in social development as defined in politico-economic terms. And more specifically still, it is focused on the part played by a particular form of technology, information1 technology (IT), in the formation, alteration and destruction of certain key modern institutional forms, such as the nation state and the business corporation. IT includes all those technologies utilized to create, store, process or communicate information, but usually means the electronic forms. While IT is now a commonly discussed subject, there is uncommonly little agreement on what IT actually does. This book argues that most essentially, IT can be understood as the technology designed to facilitate control of social activity in the broadest sense. This is to say, IT is the technical means by which the processes through which society gains desired goods and services and maintains security are carried out with some degree of efficiency. The prime concern of this book, then, is social control, and the role IT plays in creating and maintaining specific conditions of control. In other words, the book is focused on the question of how societies, and more specifically the institutions that primarily determine the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information