Posted by The Happy Tutor
Cluetrain meet John Locke. I have been reading this wonderful book, The Wealth of Networks, by Yochai Benkler. It's available online. Oddly one of the people he acknowledges is a former floor-mate of Dick Minim's and mine, from our Oxford days, now an attorney in NYC. Benkler is conversant not only with "wirearchy" issues, and the smart mobs kind of discussion, and conversations about the commons, and Larry Lessig, but he is also steeped in economics, sociology, law, and political theory in the classical liberal tradition. (He has an affinity with libertarianism too and with anarchism, not bad for a Harvard Law professor.) I am just now one third through and it is already the most satisfying and stimulating book I have read since Lewis Hyde's "The Gift." "Social production" is a term Benkler has coined. Produced that is, in the Dumpster, not in business nor by government, but in that third space we create for ourselves on the net, or in our face to face commons and gift cultures, or in our volunteer, not for profit activities. Wonderful stuff.
What, Hyde, the poet, intuits about giving, Benkler, the theorist and jurist, makes explicit. Both are mounting a defense of the holy spirit and of democracy in the age of copyright, branded deadness, and plutocracy.