Oct 20, 2009

The Core - a non-market?

I actually started to notice this trend in some of our earlier readings. For instance, that Amazon.com didn't make a profit until 2004, that Twitter has yet to come up with a way to make money - that some of the most defining online social communities are really not very commercially motivated. Or, if not motivated, at least without a clear commercial plan.

Benkler actually says that this "individual and cooperative nonmarket production of information and culture, however, threatens the incumbents of the industrial information economy."

Wow. How - anti-capitalist.

I'm also in a Global Knowledge Economy that deals intensely with what drives innovation. Financial incentive is considered one of the most important aspects. However, there is an acknowledgement that other things may drive scientists: prestige, reputation, internal drive, etc. But these are considered more minor.

This is in contrast to the historical understanding of art. In the book "Creative Industries" edited by Hartley, there's a discussion about how St. Petersburg was resisting a conception of art as a good, specifically for consumption. They viewed 'pop art' as a contradiction in terms. Art was supposed to be intrinsically motivated, untainted by the desire to 'please' the masses (basically commercialism), supported by a patron so as to allow an artist to be unfettered by financial concerns. ('Should' being the operative word.)

If this nonmarket emerges as "the core" rather than periphery, will this be a return to that idea? That cultural production will 'once again' be returned to nonmarket pursuits? Or will it just degenerate into a popularity contest? Not to mention, cultural industries would at least partially become free time pursuits, rather than full-time. A good chunk of today's internet creative cultural content by individuals or even small collaborations is done without funding in people's free-time. Therefore it becoming the core may actually be a negative effect as cultural content becomes more dominated by nonmarket interests, the market may be too threatened to continue funding cultural content.

I find this such a provoking idea.

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