The False Hope of Benkler's Communal Wealth? An Analysis of What Has Happened to Commons-Based Peer Production and the Current Prospective for Non-Corporate Activity Online

16 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2012  

Angela Daly

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law; Swinburne University of Technology; Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Date Written: July 4, 2012

Abstract

In his seminal 2006 work 'The Wealth of Networks', Yochai Benkler presents a new era in the production of information, the 'networked information economy', facilitating action by decentralised individual users, and in particular 'commons-based peer production' initiatives which provided a feasible, nonproprietary alternative to information production by corporate (or State) entities. Important and revolutionary features of this new kind of production compared to previous forms were the non-hierarchical decentralised organisation of the initiatives, their 'non-market' nature i.e. the fact that production took place altruistically and communally without remuneration or proprietary rights for participants and the fact that the information produced could be disseminated worldwide for very little cost.

This contribution analyses what has happened to commons-based peer production from an anarchist perspective, and in practice the profit-seeking encroachments made into this type of initiative. The prospective for non-hierarchical participative activity which resists this tendency will be examined.

Keywords: Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks, anarchism

JEL Classification: P40, Z00

Suggested Citation

Daly, Angela, The False Hope of Benkler's Communal Wealth? An Analysis of What Has Happened to Commons-Based Peer Production and the Current Prospective for Non-Corporate Activity Online (July 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2100550 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2100550

Angela Daly (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

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