The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

By Yochai Benkler
Book Description

With the radical changes in information production that the Internet has introduced, we stand at an important moment of transition, says Yochai Benkler in this thought-provoking book. The phenomenon he describes as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time offering new opportunities to enhance individual freedom, cultural diversity, political discourse, and justice. But these results are by no means inevitable: a systematic campaign to protect the entrenched industrial information economy of the last century threatens the promise of today’s emerging networked information environment.

In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing—and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gained—or lost—by the decisions we make today.

A Wiki at serves as an invitation to collaborate on building a learning and research environment based on the book.

Table of Contents
  • Table of Contents
  • Attribution
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge
  • Part One - The Networked Information Economy
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 2 - Some Basic Economics of Information Production and Innovation
    • Chapter 3 - Peer Production and Sharing
    • Chapter 4 - The Economics of Social Production
  • Part Two - The Political Economy of Property and Commons
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 5 - Individual Freedom: Autonomy, Information, and Law
    • Chapter 6 - Political Freedom Part 1: The Trouble with Mass Media
    • Chapter 7 - Political Freedom Part 2: Emergence of the Networked Public Sphere
    • Chapter 8 - Cultural Freedom: A Culture Both Plastic and Critical
    • Chapter 9 - Justice and Development
    • Chapter 10 - Social Ties: Networking Together
  • Part Three - Policies of Freedom at a Moment of Transformation
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 11 - The Battle Over the Institutional Ecology of the Digital Environment
    • Chapter 12 - Conclusion: The Stakes of Information Law and Policy
    • Blurb
  • Endnotes
  • Index
  • Metadata
  • Manifest
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