The Persistence of Ignorance
7 Ignorance Is Good Business 109
7 Ignorance Is Good Business oth knowledge and ignorance figure in the question of social power in the Information Age. Graham (2006, p. 4) argued that the knowledge economy, dependent as it is on the creation and negotiation of mean- ings, demonstrates the importance of the politics of information, writing: The knowledge economy is an economy of meaning. Political economy is the study of how values are produced, exchanged, distributed, and consumed (the economic), and how power is distributed, maintained, and exercised (the political) within particular social and historical contexts. The emergence of a “knowledge economy” in policy is nothing more than a political acknowledgement that certain classes of meaning are privileged; that there are more and less valuable meanings; that access to these mean- ings is restricted; and that meanings can in fact be owned and exchanged, if not en- tirely consumed. Roberts and Armitage (2008, pp. 345–346) took this concept further, sug- gesting that “the knowledge economy is precisely rooted in the production, distribution, and consumption of ignorance and lack of information” and that both knowledge and ignorance play important roles in the formation of what they called “advanced global capitalism.” They argued (p. 345) that “the knowledge economy is at the same time an ignorance economy” and despite improvements in science and production “many such production methods and services are predicated on ignorance-intensive activities, on activities that contribute to a decelerated pace of technoscientific development.” They argued (2008, p. 347) that even in the Information Age,...
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