Fred Turner’s From Counterculture to Cyberculture has an amazingly pointed criticism of modern technocracy (my word) following what is an amazing outline of both Countercultural/Communal philosophy and modern cyberculture.

One book mentioned in this conclusion is Ellen Ullman’s Close to the Machine:

(page 258, paragraph breaks and emphasis mine)

[Ullman’s life is] flexible and mobile and it demands that she build small tribes around a shared mission and link them together with information and information technologies. To the extent that Ullman tries to change the world, she does so as Buckminster Fuller might suggest she should: by designing new technologies for the management of information and the transformation of society’s resources into knowledge on which others can act.

Yet Ullman’s turn toward technologies of consciousness and toward social and economic networks has hardly brought her into the community she seeks… Cut off from… membership in permanent corporate and civic communities… her power derives primarily from what knowledge of technological systems she can carry with her and secondarily from her networks of professional friends. Her personal links to her colleagues are tenuous and brief. She is lonely. And the situation is not likely to change anytime soon.

As Ullman’s example suggests, coupling one’s life to the technologies of consciousness does not necessarily amplify one’s intellectual or emotional abilities or help one create a more whole self. On the contrary, it may require individuals to deny their own bodies, the rhythms of the life cycle, and, to the extent that their jobs require them to collaborate with far-away colleagues, even the rhythms of day and night..

It may in fact result in every bit as thorough an integration of the individual into the economic machine as the one threatened by the military-industrial-academic bureaucracy forty years earlier.

And the pointed critique (page 260):

The rhetoric of peer-to-peer informationalism, however, much like the rhetoric of consciousness out of which it grew, actively obscures the material and technical infrastructure on which both the Internet and the lives of the digital generation depend. Behind the fantasy of unimpeded information flow lies the reality of millions of plastic keyboards, silicon wafers, glass-faced monitors and endless miles of cable. All of these technologies depend on manual laborers, first to build them and later to tear them apart.

This is followed by a brief description of both environmental impact and that this physical burden falls upon those who lack social and financial resources.

Like the communards of the 1960s, the techno-utopians of the 1990s denied their dependency on any but themselves. At the same time, they developed a way of thinking and talking about digital technologies from which it was almost impossible to challenge their own elite status…. Even as they conjured up visions of a disembodied, peer-to-peer utopia, and even as they suggested that such a world would in fact represent a return to a more natural, more intimate state of being, writers such as Kevin Kelly, Esther Dyson, and John Perry Barlow deprived their many readers of a language with which to think a bout the complex ways in which embodiment shapes all of human life, about the natural and social infrastructures on which that life depends, and about the effects that digital technologies and the network mode of production might have on life and its essential infrastructures.