The Iron Fist, The Invisible Hand, And The Battle For The Soul of Open Source

Bruce Sterling, Wired, Aug 29, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Bruce Sterling warns, "The denizens of Open Cultures want their connected collectivism to liberate the world from regulations, markets, and intellectual property. But what if victory only clears the way for corruption of their beloved culture?" But aside from the limp observation that a gangster won't be receiving any money for recording an average album, I don't see the grim consequences here. Where is the corruption: the previous, royalty-driven world would have made sure the gangsters were paid. Sterling writes, "When I listen to Ceca, I have to wonder what dark passions and ancient evils have been held in check by the grim totalitarianism of the profit motive. We may yet find out." Well, yeah. But compared to what the profit motive has historically unleashed, I don't think we have much to worry about.
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