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Re: <nettime> Users are the Real Media Masters?
Paul D. Miller on Wed, 18 Jun 2003 01:15:44 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Users are the Real Media Masters?



Geert - it's interesting to see the Right wing viewpoint focus on how the
market will somehow "magically" transform people from greed driven
opportunists to respectful and enlightened denizens of a commons held
together by respect for discourse (this coming from the same people who
revere the Drudge Report - (another right wing lunatic!!). In economics,
this is all about what people have come to call the "Tragedy of the
Commons" a term popularized by Garrett Hardin's 1968 article of the same
name published in the journal "Science". Basically Hardin put it like this
- if enough people share the same resources (in America, this is some kind
of absurd joke...), and someone finally goes into a kind of winner take
all mentality, then NO ONE really wins, because the resources are used up
in the struggle to attain economic mastery of the resources - The fallacy
in the logic of the commons lies in the failure to recognize that all
households are attempting to do the same thing. Thus, on average, one unit
of gain for a household actually produces a net one unit of cost for each
household. However, selfish households accumulate wealth from the commons
by acquiring more than their fair share of the resources and paying less
than their fair share of the total costs. Ultimately, as population grows
and greed runs rampant, the commons collapses and ends in "the tragedy of
the commons" (Garrett Hardin, Science 162:1243, 1968).

Hardin argued in his "Tragedy...": Population, as Malthus said, naturally
tends to grow "geometrically," or, as we would now say, exponentially. In
a finite world this means that the per-capita share of the world's goods
must decrease. Is ours a finite world? A fair defense can be put forward
for the view that the world is infinite or that we do not know that it is
not. But, in terms of the practical problems that we must face in the next
few generations with the foreseeable technology, it is clear that we will
greatly increase human misery if we do not, during the immediate future,
assume that the world available to the terrestrial human population is
finite. "Space" is no escape. A finite world can support only a finite
population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero. (The
case of perpetual wide fluctuations above and below zero is a trivial
variant that need not be discussed.) When this condition is met, what will
be the situation of mankind? Specifically, can Bentham's goal of "the
greatest good for the greatest number" be realized?"

Personally I tend to think that the radio/TV spectrum is a finite
resource, and the FCC ruling is probably going to (hopefully) cause a big
political headache for the Bush Administration... for a little bit more of
a progressive view of this stuff, check out Lawrence Lessig's "The Future
of Ideas" or the Future of Music coalition's website - there's lots of
analysis on this kind of thing - again, from multiple viewpoints - much of
humanity's world is treated as a "commons" wherein individuals have the
right to freely consume its resources and return their wastes. The "logic
of the commons" ultimately produces its ruin as well as the demise of
those who depend upon it for survival. Oh well....

more info....

the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization:
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/index.jsp


Lawrence Lessig's "Creative Commons"
http://www.creativecommons.org/

and there's some great analysis of thi stuff at:

Future of Music Coalition:
http://www.futureofmusic.org/



>(This article comes from CATO, a fundamentalist rightist think tank in
>Washington DC that saw itself forced to respond to recent protests
>against ..
.
.


SNIPed /nettime




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