Alerted to it by one of its authors, Kevin Jones, I have subscribed to this blog, xchangexchange, and look forward to following it closely. Here is an extract:
We need to create a space and value that space, which is not subject to purely numerical forms of value. Financial and narrative value need to both be on the balance sheet. I’m not suggesting a spiritual line item. I’m suggesting another system of accounting that incorporates a just Economia. The blessed community, do you buy a futures contract that says it’s going up? what’s the nature of that contract? how can theological and spiritual and economic language create some kind of useful rosetta stone?
The whole of our intellectual, spiritual, ethical world, what was once called the noospshere, is user created content. Who owns, manages, and controls the holy spirit, the muses, our traditions, the languages we speak, and the new works the holy spirit inspires through the prophets, poets, and holy fools? Who writes the Covenant of our Congregation? The Constitution of our online polities? These are the foundational questions that few ask. I am glad to see xchangexchange does. Also, Trebor Sholz is writing brilliantly on this subject.
As a start, can we say that ownership derives from law. That law, in the U.S. flows down from a legislature, executive branch, and a judiciary. That those in turn descend from a Constitution. That the Constitution goes back to a Constitutional Assembly? That the Constitutional Assembly and the Bill of Rights were acts of Treason against the Crown? If so, is that how Facebook evolved? Or, Omidayar.net? Or, these other advertising-saturated platforms for user created content? At what point do we recognize that ownership is a political concept before it is a legal one?
I am inclined to say that Rupert Murdoch is not King. And if he is should be deposed. Maybe we who are Subjects need a War of Independence, only a peaceable one, where we withdraw our time and attention and our user created content from systems in which we do not have a say in governance, management, and ownership via a User Created Constitution. The value of user created content should accrue to the creators, within a Social Compact to which they have freely assented, after being duly informed. As more just Commonweals come on line, I hope Facebook becomes a ghost town.
Lucy Bernholz on xchangexchange here. Reading her post, too, though, makes me impatient at the market language. At Oxford one of the most popular undergraduate degrees is PPP, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. The sources are the same few thinkers, including Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Bentham, and Mill. Add Machiavelli, Rousseau, if you you wish and Marx, Proudhon ("Property is theft"), and Carl Schmidt. We need to open this conversation about private property, philanthropy, economics, and public goods to include the great minds of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, conceived as three aspects of one conversation about the world we have and the world we want.