by Stephen Downes
Feb 18, 2016
The idea of the commons and the future of capitalism
Creative Commons | YouTube,
I listened to this on the way into the office this morning. It's quite a good talk that depicts the commons (as defined by, say, Creative Commons) as anew model of capitalism. Yochai Benkler depicts the market capitalist model based on rational and avaricious self-interest as a model focused on the extraction of resources, but which doesn't comprehend the social (and maybe ecological) environment necessary to create them. We are not moved merely by financial incentives; our creations do not need to be collectivized, but nor either do they need to be commodified. The talk was given at the Creative Commons Global Summit last October in Korea. I agreed with a lot of it, I liked the way the different schools of sharing were brought out and explained, but I don't think he captures fully the necessary ways society needs to shape networks (he talks about self-organization, but not about the role and function of self-organization).
Amazon's Plans for OER
As Audrey Watters notes in this post, Silicon Valley is not helping (nor should be be relied upon) to solve the high cost of textbooks. For example, "what we might actually read from Jobs’ plans is less about a shift from 'expensive' to 'free' than a shift in power from governmental bodies to technology platforms as the locus of control." As for the new Amazon OER registry, we on't really know how it will work. Michael Caulfield argues that OER repositories have not been successful in the past. "The idea is if 'everyone just knows the one place to go' OER will be findable," he writes. "This has been a disaster." And, continues Watters, "it doesn’t appear as though Amazon Inspire is about enabling schools or educators to spin up their own infrastructure to publish, host, and share content. It’s about building a marketplace, controlled by Amazon, to buy, sell, and trade stuff."
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