This book has opened to me the following possibilities:
It has helped me look at our current world and see some driving forces that are in conflict. First, as Benkler calls it, the “Industrial information economy” and the “Networked Information Economy”. I can boil this down to the confrontation going on right now between Microsoft and Google, the increasingly heated debate regarding licensing with Google being a proponent of Creative Commons and Microsoft sticking to standard copyright practices. I’ve heard about it, creative commons, and its potential benefits, but in all honesty it seemed like a fringe movement, ill articulated and raw. Boy was I wrong. Benkler has an incredible powerful articulation of how this current conflict or struggle is reshaping of our cultural landscape. This is happening now, and at an accelerated rate.
We already live in a world where open source software can compete quite compentently against very well established corporations, like Microsoft for example. A loosely connected network of people collaborating with each other can create wikipedia.org, leaving Encyclopedia Britanica on the shelf collecting dust. So is the path of evolution set towards “Networked Information Economy”? It seems inevitable that the confrontations and frictions will increase, and pivotal that we change our current course.
While this power struggle exists in the big scheme, the space for action is here now, for millions of individuals and might not be here indefinitely. And whether that space continues is only dependent on us using the tools.