1. Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge

From Yochai Benkler - Wealth of Networks
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Table of Contents
Part One



Production is shifting from physical products like blue jeans, to decentralized information goods, like articles on the Internet. This gives users more power (they can publish instead of just reading), creates more opportunities for democratic participation, lowers costs for developing countries, and democratizes the creation of our culture.

This book will analyze these changes by looking at what new technologies make easy, applying an individualist economic model, and examining the effects on human beings. As the state's role has largely been to support big companies, this book will largely ignore it, even though it could be used as a force for good.


Sources cited in the chapter

Barry Wellman et al., “The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism,” JCMC 8, no. 3 (April 2003).

Langdon Winner, ed., “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” in The Whale and The Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 19–39.

Harold Innis, The Bias of Communication (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951).

Lawrence Lessig, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Networked Society (Cambridge, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996).

Other relevant readings

Steven Weber's "The Success of Open Source" snippet from an editorial review on Amazon... "...we can listen to Steven Weber and begin to make our peace with the uncomfortable fact that the very foundations of our familiar "knowledge as property" world have irrevocably shifted..."

Webcast of Steven Weber at the 2005 Conference for Law School Computing titled Is Open Source the Opening Shot in an Economic Revolution?

Case Studies

Supporting examples

Global civil society / UN NGO Community

Global civil society
UN NGO community


Key Concepts

Industrial information economy
Networked information economy
Peer production