⇠ Books

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

Author: Yochai Benkler

tl;dr:This is a tough read. Benkler plays the part of the academic quite well, which is reflected in his writing style. Nonetheless, one of the most thought provoking books I’ve read.

Written before the true rise of social media, you’d think Benkler has a crystal ball.

The publisher sums up the spirit of the book well: “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.”

What the book really does a great job of is connect the dots between how internet publishing changes society from a political perspective. Then dives really deep on subtopics you wouldn’t think of. For example, the prevailing notion is that everyone wants to get paid for sharing their online right? Wrong. The social capital acquired by doing so almost always outweighs the direct monetary benefits.

The book is also chock full of history to back up his assertions. Instantaneous and ubiquitous networks are only in their infancy, anyone looking to learn how they will shape our political and domestic lives should read.

Stars: (4 stars because it's overly wordy)

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

First published on May 23, 2020