Who Benefits from Writing?

When first invented, writing served priests and kings, for it was used to keep track of taxation and record the seasons and other forms of knowledge that kept the ruling groups in powers. This continued for a thousand or thiousands of years . . .

Writing was also used to record — and thus fix — laws.

Eventually, as writing spread (particularly after the creation of its alphabetic form), it became a force for sharing power and hence advanced democratization.

At least some information technologies have major potential for democratization, but history shows that they often take centuries or even millennia for that potential to be realized. The process appears to dramatically speed up with the invention of printing.

But even at its finest, most liberating, most democratic moments, writing still comes with losses . . .

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