In today's networked, globalized world, many presume that the Internet will pose a grave threat to authoritarian regimes. Such has been the power of this conventional wisdom that it remains for the most part unchallenged, and largely unexamined.
A new book, Open Networks, Closed Regimes, offers the most comprehensive and thought-provoking work on this subject to date. Authors Shanthi Kalathil and Taylor C. Boas trace Internet use in eight authoritarian and semi-authoritarian countries: China, Cuba, Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. They discover that authoritarian governments, far from fearing the information age, have chosen to direct Internet development in ways that bolster the state. At the same time, many regimes are struggling to cope with the potent challenges posed by new technologies. The authors encourage policy makers in the U.S. and other industrialized democracies to promote specific Internet-based initiatives that foster political liberalization, rather than perpetuating the myth of the Internet as an unstoppable "virus of freedom."
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Conventional Wisdom: What Lies Beneath?
Chapter 2 Wired for Modernization in China
Chapter 3 Channeling a "Limited" Resource in Cuba
Chapter 4 Catching Up and Cracking Down in Singapore, Vietnam, and Burma
Chapter 5 Technology and Tradition in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt
Chapter 6 Beyond Blind Optimism
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
This text is an excerpt of Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule by Shanthi Kalathil and Taylor C. Boas, to be published in January 2003 by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Reprinted by permission of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. © 2003, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; All Rights Reserved.
This book is available from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace via Carnegie's distributor, The Brookings Institution Press, and fine bookstores everywhere. To order this book visit www.ceip.org/OpenNetworks or call 1-800-275-1447 or 202-797-6258.
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