Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Marko points out three mistakes in the moral mathematics of blogging that Clay has been writing about and articulates very clearly some key weaknesses in the arguments.

The first mistake – lets call it the “Natural Social Institutions” view – is the simplistic but widely held view that the patterns resulting from the operation of freely forming networks are acceptable because the rules of operation of these networks are in some sense natural.
The second mistake – lets call it the “Links from Nowhere” view – claims that link choices are made under full information about available options and fully formed values or preferences over those options. We should also reject this view. Autonomous linking choices are always informed by incomplete information and incomplete values and preferences. There are in fact no links from nowhere.
The third mistake – lets call it the “Forced Compensation” view – claims that the only way to address the unacceptable degree of inequality that results from the operation of a freely forming network is to “force” people to change their linking behavior. This is a far too narrow view of the means available to influence the distributions that arise.
Marko ends by asking some more questions about justice.
What arrangements of inequality are preferable over others from the point of view of justice? How do we justify to each other the rules, architectures and tools we adopt in the blogging world?

In answering these questions we should look back to understand the present. John Rawls put the task description well: “The task is to articulate a public conception of justice that all can live with who regard their person and relation to society in a certain way. And though doing this may involve settling theoretical difficulties, the practical social task is primary.”

A public conception of justice for freely forming networks. That could be our shared goal.

You should read the entire entry on Marko's blog.

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