John Keane | On Communicative Abundance
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On Communicative Abundance

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Published 1999
The system of modern communications media that has prevailed since the invention of the printing press – the Gutenberg galaxy – has been dominated by images of scarcity. This fact must be kept in mind when reconsidering the subject of public life, for time lags, transportation difficulties across geographic space and high production and distribution costs have constantly dogged the public circulation of opinions and information among individuals, groups and organizations.

So, for example, in the dawning era of the struggle for liberty of the press – in 1776, the year of the revolution – newspapers, books and letters took eight weeks to travel from Philadelphia to London by packet-boat; the coach which brought news to London of the battle of Waterloo in eighteen hours was considered to have performed a miraculous journey; in the same year, the mail coach journey from London to Leeds regularly took thirty-three hours; and around the same time messages shipped from London to the penal colony of New South Wales took at least sixteen treacherous weeks to arrive.

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