impact of the network era

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

Making Sense of the Emerging Economy with Yochai Benkler, via @lfbenjamin

“[Hierarchy] Uber rides on a brutal hierarchy. Financiers are at the top, then investors and directors, then engineers and managers, then drivers and riders, and finally everyone else, those people known as ‘externalities’.

[Privatization] Uber doesn’t pay for the cars, maps, driver’s licenses, roads, or the health insurance plans of their drivers. Yet they can build a thin layer of software on top of all that value and use it to hoover as much wealth as possible towards the top of the pyramid.

[Tyranny of the Margin] Uber combines the efficiency of high technology with the leverage of high finance to strangle one marketplace after another. The global ecosystem of cooperative taxi companies is rapidly being replaced by a monoculture of precarious independent contractors. If they have an ethical commitment, it is delayed so far as to be invisible.”

How to put an end to the urban commons and “sharing” once and for all via @DrDCWahl

“But municipal goods and services are not ‘commons,’ and a rental vehicle from a company-owed fleet is not ‘collaborative.’ … The problem is that when a concept is stripped of meaning, it ends up creating disappointment, and that disappointment reflects not just on the one who made false promises, but what was promised.”

Welcome To The Post-Work Economy via @Daniel_Egger

“Today, the main contradiction in modern capitalism is between the possibility of free, abundant socially produced goods, and a system of monopolies, banks, and governments struggling to maintain control over power and information,” Mason says. “Everything is pervaded by a fight between network and hierarchy.” … The fact is that capitalism — with its tendency to income inequality, information monopolies, and financial power — is running out of steam.

@dweinberger : Will blockchain kill culture?

“Culture is the ultimate analog phenomenon, even when it’s communicated digitally, for it is only culture to the extent to which people — we — make it our own. We understand our lives and our world through culture. If we can’t appropriate it, re-express it, and re-use it, culture simply dies … blockchain could perfect the system of tracking and control, leading us further into the tragic error of thinking that ideas and culture are property.”

Winona Ryder and the Internet of Things via @14prinsp

“When Internet-enabled devices have thoroughly saturated our educational institutions, they run the risk of being able to police students’ behavior without any direct input or mediation from teachers. By merely being in the room, the devices will monitor students’ behavior in the same way that the cameras and switches and lab coats did in Milgram’s experiments. How will learning be changed when everything is tracked? How has learning already been changed by the tracking we already do? When our LMSs report how many minutes students have spent accessing a course, what do we do with that information? What will we do with the information when we also know the heart rate of students as they’re accessing (or not accessing) a course?… Our best tools in this are ones that encourage compassion more than obedience.”

“I re-wrote The Red Flag last night”@trishgreenhalgh

“The peoples’ flag flies at half-mast
Its once-proud days are fading fast
Old Left & New are poles apart
Not much remains of Labour’s heart

So haul the scarlet standard down
Move on from talk of martyrdom
Let’s overcome our toxic schisms
And build progressive socialism”

End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries? via @ndcollaborative

“Nation states grew out of the complex hierarchies of the industrial revolution. The EU adds another layer of hierarchy – but without enough underlying integration to wield decisive power. It lacks both of Maleševic’s necessary conditions: nationalist ideology and pervasive integrating bureaucracy. Even so, the EU may point the way to what a post-nation-state world will look like … We cannot yet imagine there are no countries. But recognising that they were temporary solutions to specific historical situations can only help us manage a transition to whatever we need next. Whether or not our nations endure, the structures through which we govern our affairs are due for a change.”

@edmorrison : Learning more about the “How” of clusters

Lesson 1: Strategic Doing provides a valuable framework and discipline for open innovation
Lesson 2: Open innovation networks take time to form and they move through identifiable stages
Lesson 3. Focus relentlessly on small commitments. Trust forms when participants develop patterns of doing.
Lesson 4. As trusted networks form, the productivity of the network improves dramatically.

Image: Ed Morrison

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