The new enclosure movement

ENCLOSURE: In English social and economic history, enclosure or inclosure is the process which ends traditional rights such as mowing meadows for hay, or grazing livestock on common land formerly held in the open field system. Once enclosed, these uses of the land become restricted to the owner, and it ceases to be land for commons. – Wikipedia

Do we no longer own common culture?

People everywhere are seeing and feeling the loss of parts of their lives to the ‘enclosure’ of privatization and the diminishment of the commons (the public spaces where certain types of common services and goods are made available to the public). – Jon Husband

Even the newest ventures are quickly getting enclosed.

What was a promise for free-range, connected, open-ended learning online, MOOCs are becoming something else altogether. Locked-down. DRM’d. Publisher and profit friendly. Offered via a closed portal, not via the open Web. – Audrey Watters

Government is also culpable.

In the absence of that [a culture of open government], though, we could paradoxically find ourselves living in a world where technology makes it easier to share information — via the government’s open data portal or its online access to information request system — while our government’s culture makes it harder to talk to the people who can give that information meaning and context. – David Eaves (Toronto Star)

But what is the price of enclosure? We will lose our ability to innovate. For a society, a country, or an organization, this is the end of evolution and the beginning of stagnation.

open societies


One Response to “The new enclosure movement”

  1. Shaun Coffey

    Thank you Harold for an excellent contribution – it really drives home the point. We must continue to guard the open society and protect it from its enemies (apologies to Karl Popper!).


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