The Wealth of Networks
Benkler’s book The Wealth of Networks examines the ways in which information technology permits extensive forms of collaboration that may potentially have transformative consequences for economy and society. Wikipedia, Creative Commons, Open Source Software and the blogosphere are among the examples that Benkler draws upon. (The Wealth of Networks is itself published under a Creative Commons license). For example, Benkler argues that blogs and other modes of participatory communication can lead to “a more critical and self-reflective culture,” where citizens are empowered by the ability to publicize their own opinions on a range of issues. Much of The Wealth of Networks is presented in economic terms, and Benkler raises the possibility that a culture where information were shared freely could prove more economically efficient than one where innovation is frequently encumbered by patent or copyright law, since the marginal cost of re-producing most information is effectively nothing.