The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom,

M.Blackmore mblackmore at
Tue Apr 18 14:27:34 PDT 2006

This is an interesting work, and indicates the power of the model that
has developed (and enabled by technology) over the last couple of
decades. Which way do we go - networking with cooperative and well
socialised or "civilised" values, or down into a new dark ages of
enclosed and forbidden knowledge with Corporations licencing a handful
of new guild members with secret information?

>>From BoingBoing:

Yochai "Coase's Penguin" Benkler releases new book under CC license 
David Tannenbaum sez, "Yochai Benkler just released his brand new book,
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and
Freedom, under a CC license, along with a wikinotes wiki for commentary
and cooperative augmentation. The book presents Benkler's pathbreaking
work on social cooperation over digital networks in a delicious romp
from software to telecom to medicines in the developing world. I
wouldn't be surprised if this book does for the 21st century what Wealth
of Nations did for the 19th. There is a book party open to the public
tonight in NYC, at the super-cool digital "atelier," Eyebeam." 

Benkler is one of my favorite writers about the economics of
commons-based production. His paper, Coase's Penguin, does a better job
of making sense of how the "economy" of contribution to free and open
source software works than anything else I've ever read. How exciting!

        In the networked information economy, the physical capital
        required for production is broadly distributed throughout
        society. Personal computers and network connections are
        ubiquitous. This does not mean that they cannot be used for
        markets, orthat individuals cease to seek market opportunities.
        It does mean, however, that whenever someone, somewhere, among
        the billion connected human beings, and ultimately among all
        those who will be connected, wants to make something that
        requires humancreativity, a computer, and a network connection,
        he or she can do so — alone, or in cooperation with others. He
        or she already has the capital capacity necessary to do so; if
        not alone, then at least incooperation with other individuals
        acting for complementary reasons. The result is that a good deal
        more that human beings value can now be done by individuals, who
        interact with each other socially, as human beings and as social
        beings, rather than as market actors through the price system.
        Sometimes, under conditions I specify in some detail, these
        nonmarket collaborations can be better at motivating effort and
        can allow creative people to work on information projects more
        efficiently than would traditional market mechanisms and
        corporations. The result is a flourishing nonmarket sector of
        information, knowledge, and cultural production, based in the
        networked environment, and applied to anything that the many
        individuals connected to it can imagine. Its outputs, in turn,
        are not treated as exclusive property. They are instead subject
        to an increasingly robust ethic of open sharing, open for all
        others to build on, extend, and make their own. 
Link (Thanks, David!)
"When the multitude detests a man, inquiry is necessary; when the
multitude likes a man, inquiry is equally necessary."
Confucius, Analects (circa 6th century BC)

Or more pertinently:
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." 
Benjamin Franklin

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