Though not cited, GOVERNMENT 2.0 would appear to have been written circa 2015. As such, much of the material covered in this short tract has been seriously affected by subsequent global events notably the catastrophes of both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Joseph Albert Gorski’s central thesis, that overarching government control is responsible for many of the USA’s fiscal and societal troubles, still stands but his suggestions as to how this may be addressed have been stymied by both this unforeseen double threat and the repercussions of the Trump years.
Much of what Gorski pitches has gained traction in recent times as the kind of neo-liberalist thinking that has frequently transcended traditional party lines. It’s interesting to note that what would perhaps have been seen as a marginalized, contrarian view at the time of writing, with its references to “global elites” and the “mainstream media”, has now become all too familiar via the buzzwords of social media enlivened activists on both the left and the right. Indeed, Gorski’s theories regarding the democratization of society via the internet is a contentious one. The control once exerted by the fourth estate, in cahoots with the government or so the conspiracists would have it, has arguably been partially replaced by tech rather than completely overthrown by it. Discourse delivered and controlled via a handful of powerful Big Tech companies rather than more traditional media.
With the benefit of hindsight some of the author’s predictions can be looked upon objectively. Gorski is prescient on a number of issues, including the developments of technology to allow some level of autonomy for citizens. Although his hopes for the revolutionary capabilities of individualized 3D printing as a means to break consumerist culture remain some way off there has been progress in this area. Likewise the internet has continued to have a seismic effect on culture and society. Gorski’s expectations of the positive impacts of working/ learning from home were tested during the Covid pandemic and their end results may not have been how he imagined them.
Gorski explains his ideas concisely in clear, straightforward prose. There is very little in the way of references with regards to the information he bases his ideas on. No other works are cited. No previous political philosophers are referenced. Gorski’s value as an economic theorist will depend on the reader’s previous knowledge of the subject. Though presented as revolutionary forward thinking, quite a lot of GOVERNMENT 2.0 relies heavily on other economists’ work. Now that subsequent events have rendered the book dated, in lieu of any updates from the author it can best be read as a time capsule as to one strand of political neo-liberalist thought in the pre-Covid, pre-Ukraine war and indeed pre-Trump era.
Though clearly written and concise, Joseph Albert Gorski’s neo-liberal polemic GOVERNMENT 2.0 suffers from having not been updated since its original publication when much has changed, rendering much of the book an historical curio rather than the blueprint for the future the author may have envisaged.
~Kent Lane for IndieReader