Yochai Benkler: Politics is Flat I: what Happens when a Billion People Own the Means of Production of Ideas?
Yochai Benkler is the author of the influential book Wealth of Networks, and is speaking fast for a short time.
Wants to talk about how what we see is part of a deeper phenomenon. The New York Herald with informaiton about Lincoln’s assassination – this is the start of the importance of the media in politics.
Huge increase in cost of starting a newspaper up till 1850. Today: SETI@home is faster and better than the best supercomputer in the world. Every connected person – one billion in the world are in this category already – has the economical means to do this today.
That’s physical capital, the other is human beings. Behaviours that were once on the periphery (social motivations, being nice, giving directions etc) more to the very core of the economy. The commons is important because it decentralizes authority to act, paralleling what tehcnology/economy has done for practical capacity to act.
Peer production – large scale cooperation without using price, capitalism or management.
[Oh dear, I can’t type fast enough to follow this – I think the video will be on YouTube though. He just showed a useful-looking diagram of market – non-market etc]
What is a democratic public sphere?
– everyone’s concerns should be observabel (universal intake)
– filtering (political relevance etc…)
Criticisms of mass media focus on:
– tiny intake funnel
– owners have too much control
– “Baywatch effect” – let’s ignore things that are hard and deal with things that are not
Lovely diagram of public sphere and forces tugging at it from different directions.
Now: the NETWORKED public sphere.
Pull on professional values – it’s cheaper and easier to be a professional (universities etc) – also a pull towards citizens.
Examples of websites that are helping us to organise reporting/sharing of information about waste in politics, money flows etc.
“Stolen Honor” —> web stuff about this with a lot of very, very practical things about who to ring, what to do, local stuff.
Self-organizing networked public sphere. High-intensity groups – the people who are the MOST INTENSELY INTERESTED shape the agenda, rather than the agenda being set by hte lowest common denominator in the population.
Instead of “trust me, I know”, it’s “here are the materials, analyse them.”
More democratic, after all.
Not everyone a pamphleteer, but we are also not all intellectual lemmings.
Structured web offers more visibility.
– relatively free of
Disagrees with Eric Schmidt about requiring short bits on the internet – maybe that’s true of video, but we see people have a willingness to engage in long, complicated articles on political issues, articles that would never be published in mainstream print media.