More Coherent Thoughts on Wealth of Networks

Thankfully the class discussion on Wealth of Networks helped me make some sense of Benkler’s motivations. While I still think he could have written the text to be more accessible, realizing he has a law and economic background helps me understand his writing style.

My third blogged question was addressed during the class discussion. While reading, I found myself asking some of the same questions as my classmates. How does Benkler want society to make money? Benkler isn’t asking that question. He’s focused on the greater good. I have a hard time separating the two concepts: working for the greater good and being paid. I suspect that I feel this way because of the economy I grew up in and the hard financial times our country is going through. The ideas we talked about today really do make sense though. Building on other people’s information really is the fastest most efficient way to get things done and innovate. Because of my own naiveté, I hadn’t really realized other countries don’t view copyright like the US does.

I found it interesting that Benkler and McGonigal brushed some of the same topics. There is a point in chapter 3 where Benkler talks about NASA Clickworkers, Folding@home and of course, the ever popular topic, Wikipedia. While Benkler’s ideas are not as game-oriented as McGonigal’s theories – they still have some of the same over-arching concepts. They’re both interested in how we can collectively come together as a society to innovate better and faster.

Although we didn’t talk about the relation in class, I think Benkler’s ideas mesh with the lecture we had on Monday on open source websites in government. By letting everything be open and transparent, we would invite more people to be involved and hopefully, this in turn, enhances innovation. Besides trolls, getting people involved and keeping them involved seemed to the biggest flaw in the Obama open government website. I actually didn’t know about the site until we talked about in class. I hope they’ll try this again and get better results.

At the very end of class Professor Lackaff asked the question, “What happens when reality becomes non-rival?” Apparently there are 3-D printers are in the works and eventually we might be able to print ourselves a car. Mind officially blown.


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