Benkler and the Wealth of Networks

Although Benkler’s article was very interesting, there was one small point within it that I took issue with.   On page 5, Benkler claims that “Science is built around many people contributing incrementally- not operating on market signals, not being handed their research marching orders by a boss.”   While the first part of this statement is accurate, the second is not.   Scientists must get funding to perform research, and so they must appeal to either public or private interest to recieve that funding.   The suggestion that scienfitic research exists free of corporate interests is simply not correct, and this strikes a hard blow against Benkler’s point that open source software can follow the same model.   Of course, this is not to say that open-source software need follow the same model, but the comparison provided here seems to suggest that it should, and so it is disapointing that Benkler points to a field that is so often bogged down by the old model of private interests to demonstrate how technological advances should occur in the “commons.”

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