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Adina has a nice essay about why participants in what Benkler calls commons-based peer production are not necessarily communists. If you don't have time to read Benkler's 80 page Coase's Peguin paper, I suggest you read Adina's essay which picks up some important points that you don't get in the abstract.


I'm just sayin'... as long as communism is lying dead on the floor, we might as well pick its pockets for the good stuff.

While I agree that *commons-based peer productions* is not the same as communism, I am of the opinion that it is just as destructive and as difficult to coexist in stable conditions with capitalism. To use an analogy, it is a seemingly innocent nudging of a stone that leads to a deadly avalanche.

IMHO, IANAL, IANAE (I am not an economist), etc... :

Since Benkler wrote that, the development of Linux has been, by and large, taken over (in terms of sheer number and volume of contributions to the project) by corporate entities, either directly, as is the case with IBM, or indirectly, as is the case with RedHat's major clients.

The near-consensus is that the commodities market is not a good one to be in. OS's are commodities, yet quite expensive to produce and maintain.

These corporate players are distributing the cost of producing a commodity, with the reward for bigger contributions being, simply, more influence on the design of the end product, an opportunity to shape the playing field.

What we are seeing with open-source development is the effect of the "invisible hand", not some new-age communist movement.

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Joi Ito links approvingly to a short essay by Adina Levin, criticizing the Dan Hunter article on open source and Marxism that I discussed last week. Ms. Levin says that open source is not, in fact Marxist, a claim which... Read More