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April 23, 2008

Can Amazon’s Kindle influence Drug Policy?

It now seems likely the Kindle or some close relative will soon be pushing Book Publishing in the same direction that file sharing software and less expensive recording technology have already pushed the Music Industry. By breaking up lucrative monopolies at the top of established industries the revolution now known familiarly as IT and first anticipated by Claude Shannon’s Communication Theory is forcing a rapid restructuring of established markets.

With respect to books, the new format, one that should allow rapid and inexpensive (even free) dissemination of copyrighted intellectual content,  could revolutionize both how authors are paid and ideas are exchanged. If we look to recent history, we can anticipate that established publishers will fight the diminution of their influence for a while, but will eventually end up competing to to buy up (and control) the new platform to the extent possible. Meanwhile, the challenge to Jeff Bezos and his staff at Amazon will be to develop their new idea as responsibly as possible; hopefully, they will do so in an evolutionary (as opposed to gimmicky) direction.

What my study of pot smokers does is document the existence of a large population of self-identified pot smokers; it’s unique because it provides information that couldn’t have become available until Proposition 215 had passed in California. It’s important because, when followed to a logical conclusion, it is further evidence that our species is at a  cross roads: to an uncanny degree, today's headlines confirm that our modern Age of Anxiety coincides with the most important existential challenge humanity has faced since narrowly (and unwittingly) avoiding Nuclear Winter in the October 1962 missile crisis.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to point out that the dense relationship between corporate greed and political irresponsibility that Douglas Cay Johnston has so brilliantly documented in Free Lunch becomes even more understandable when one realizes the degree to which our still-evolving Behavioral Sciences have been co-opted by the imposition of a morality-based, pseudo-scientific policy like Nixon’s Drug War.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at April 23, 2008 06:35 PM