August 31st, 2011

(no subject)


The word conjures up images of swash-buckling raiders, treasure-chests filled with loot, parrots on the shoulders of scurvy-ridden and delimbed individuals constantly yelling "Arrrr!" and...downloading music and videos?

I'm of the opinion that I don't care who created something: if I find something and I like it, I will spread it, I will utilize it, I will learn it.

This is a crime, it's true. But it's not been a crime throughout human history, only in the past 100 years or so has it become so.

Picture a world where there were property rights on the first discovery of fire or the first use of flint-tools or the discovery of an edible plant.

Give me a break, we'd be stalled in the stone-age still, paying royalties to the sir or madam over there who first discovered a monopoly over it. But this is the insane world we live in, where people can own patents to genes and to songs as ubiquitous as "Happy Birthday".

This is slowing down the human species for the benefit of a select few.

It won't last.

From legalized sharing via Open-Source and Creative-Community licences, apps, to community based knowledge sharing (Wikipedia, Wikileaks) or production (the development of the Reprap), to illegal torrent-downloads people are sharing--for free, or even at some expense to themselves.

It may not look it on the face of it, but all these developments fly in the face of Neo-classical Economics: we are not purely selfish/individualistic beings, we like to share, we like community. Indeed, things like Wikipedia are surpassing for-profit versions of themselves.

I'd argue that sharing, community and altruism are the defining traits of the human species and what has caused us to evolve to the point of rocket-science and consumerism.

My questions are as follows:

-Can you devise some way of arguing that people really are purely self-interested and that these developments are exceptions to a selfish rule? Feel free to sight ongoing problems with the economy and politics.

-How far do you see the developments (outlined above) going?

-What kind of world can you envision for the future? Is it related to these recent developments? Can you see big organizations and private property surmounting this?