Sunday, April 5, 2009

Understanding, or power?

Intelligence, information, truth and power
Paul Woodward, War in Context

Is information valued because it illuminates understanding, or because it can serve as a means to an end?

Information as a repository of power needs to be guarded and channeled in the most effective way. Its value becomes diluted through loss of ownership.

Information as a repository of truth acquires value if it can be tied to other information through a process of exchange. Its value is enhanced through the relinquishment of ownership.

Democracy rises or falls on its ability to sustain the free flow of information. As a practical necessity, that flow needs to be managed; yet if this is treated as an exercise in the control of power, democratic governance will be undermined.
Image source here.