Landing : Athabascau University

Coase's Penguin, or, Linux and the Nature of the Firm.

Yochai Benkler's seminal paper from 2002, introducing themes later explored in greater depth in the Wealth of Networks (very highly recommended, albeit very long indeed). In this shorter and earlier paper, he outlines his central notion of a third model of production, commons-based peer production, which is neither market-driven nor top-down managerially driven. This is perhaps one of the most - if not the most - significant and far-reaching effects of the growth of the Internet, bringing about real social, political, economic, and moral change in the world in ways that were very difficult or impossible to manage before. His focus and inspiration is the world of open source, but the principles of which he speaks apply across a vast range of systems enabled by social software and the read/write web. It's a long paper and it's not always gripping, but it is worth sticking with it to the end, as he explores problems and solutions to collective action in such systems. The section on motivation is particularly interesting, albeit simplistic and arguable in places.


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