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The Wealth of Networks (2006) by Mind Map: The Wealth of Networks (2006)
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The Wealth of Networks (2006)

Chapter 1: Opportunities and Challenges

Four Methodological Comments

1. Technological determinism (NOT!)

Barry Wellman: Affordances

Langdon Winner: Political Properties of Technology

Harold Innis: The Bias of Communications

Lessig: Code is Law

2. Economic Analysis & Methodological Individualism

Manuel Castells: Networked Society

looser, flexible arrangement of human affairs

nonmarket production at core of economic engine

3. Economic Structure in Liberal Political Theory

a. humans as bears of moral claims

b. actual humans in actual historical settings

4. Whiter the State?

a. Rise of individual practical capabilities

b. Role of capabilities in nonproprietary, nonmarket behavior

Critical Culture & Networked Social Relations

emergence of critical, self-reflective culture

1. makes culture more transparent

2. makes culture more mallable

the new folk culture

strengthening strong ties

longer range and more diverse weak ties

Justice and Human Development

peer production allows for economic opportunity and human development

creates avenues to address and construct basic requirements

finished good = better opportunities e.g. OLPC

Democracy: The Networked Public Sphere

Public Spheres: From mass-mediated to networked

1st Gen Critique: Babel Objection

2nd Gen Critique: Power Law online

Failure of $$$ mass media for public discourse

1. too many concerns, too little journalists

2. Market concentration = Power to shape opinion

3. oversimplification: inane rather than engaging

key: "peer-review-like" online communities

Enhanced Autonomy

1. individuals can do more by themselves

2. do more in loose commonality with others

3. do more for non-market organizations

Liberal, Democratic Societies

Individual freedom

genuinely participatory politics

critical culture

social justice

Unlimited potential vs. productive systems

Observations of Emerging Information Production System

1. Non-material = non-proprietary, non-market production

2. Aggregation of unconscious information goods

3. Peer production of info, knowledge, culture

e.g. open-source Linux, Wikipedia, SETI@Home

"Networked Information Economy"

1. New economy

information (software, science)

cultural production (films, music)

symbology (branding)

2. Cheap, powerful, networked processors



social productions

traditional communications technology

centralized communication

expensive, politically inaccessible

e.g. printing presses, telegraphs


decentralized communication

cheap, globally accessible

e.g. blogs, wikis


The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776)

Themes: Invisible Hand Meritocracy

1. Invisible hand (benefit through self-interest)

2. Meritocracy (individual talent vs. external interference)

A Theory of Justice by John Rawls (1971)

Justice = Fairness (social contract)

The Rise of the Network Society by Castells (1996)

network of individualized labor

“the work process is globally integrated,

but labor tends to be locally fragmented”

Coarse's Penguin by Benkler (2002)

Modes of Production, 1. market prices, 2. managerial commands, 3. social signals

Sharing Nicely by Benkler (2004)

sharing private, excludable, "systematic overcapacity" goods

e.g. carpooling, distributed computing

Democratizing Innovation by Eric Von Hippel (2005)

Modify Your Merchandise = Adds Value

MAKE: Void Your Warranty




Peer Production


Human Ethics

Information Economy

Individualism = The New Collectivism ?







Export to World


Open Source ain't what it used to be

Open source ain't what it used to be

Battle over Institutional Ecology of Digital Environment

Elements of free vs. proprietary

Trust: traditional fixed vs. new unlimited

Property: institutional component of markets

Contracts: institutional element of liberal societies

Commons: institutional component of freedom of action

e.g. Spectrum Commons, DMCA, P2P

Part One: The Networked Information Economy

1. Outputs of Advanced Information Economy = human meaning & communication

2. Basic physical capital required = connected PC