Did you major in economics? Remember all that stuff you learned about the rules of supply and demand? Remember all that work you put into building economic models that presumed people make rational choices when it comes to producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services? Well, I’ve got some bad news for you. Turns out, the our networked information economy, made possible by the Internet, has changed the rules on you. Big time.
According The Wealth of Networks, Internet-facilitated phenomena like mass online collaboration and open source software are proving that new technologies are changing the way our culture interacts.
Author Yochai Benkler up his findings the following way:
The change brought about by the networked information environment is
deep. It is structural. It goes to the very foundations of how liberal mar-
kets and liberal democracies have coevolved for almost two centuries.
I’m particularly intrigued by Benkler’s references to the open source phenomenon. Isn’t it amazing that large portions of the Internet runs on software created by the masses? These are people who for the most part have never met each other and work for free. Not only does Benkler explain to us that collaborative online communities and technologies are changing our traditional economic structures, he also walks the walk. Check out his Wealth of Networks Wiki here.