Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, December 03, 2004


This article about James Glassman, editor-in-chief of TechCentralStation is a revelation. He invented "journo-lobbying." This is a bad thing in the Washington Monthly's book, but I think it's a great idea. It's a solution to a key problem in information economics, which is that information is so cheap and easy to duplicate that it's 1) logistically difficult and 2) socially inefficient to get people to pay for it. The internet undermines the system of patents and other intellectual property restrictions that make it difficult for writers and other information-producers to collect money for their work. (For example, you're reading my work right now and not paying me anything.)

Journo-lobbying is a nice fix. Let Corporate America fund online magazines that have a lot of good content but are slanted towards their point of view. (Big business could educate society in a whole lot of ways; they basically have the know-how that makes our society tick, in contrast to journalists.) But of course, the interests of big business do not always coincide with the interests of the society (though they do much more often than the left realizes.) That's where citizen-bloggers come in. Journo-lobbyists will give them something to link to; they'll link to it but also critique it. Most citizen-bloggers will work for free, but some will do it professionally.

The journo-lobbyists and the citizen-bloggers. A new information economy.


  • Well said! Not only is it a new information economy, but it's an open-source economy, and open-source economies can't be controlled.

    We are at the dawn of a new age, and it will be a good one for democratic institutions, provided we don't blow each other up. In order to keep from blowing each other up, we will have to rapidly spread access to this type of economy (money and otherwise) across the world.

    I have rarely felt more optimistic about global trends in my life. When I was a child, the Soviet/Western clash was a very real demon hanging over our heads, and the outcome was uncertain. Reagan pretty much took care of that problem. Then it became questionable whether the basis of our democracy - control by the people - could really survive the growth of complexity and the failure of TV news to convey the real issues of the day. The internet and inquiring minds took care of that problem.

    Then what I consider a type of elitism, almost a global oligarchy, tried to seize control of the world economy through the use of the UN, social disapproval and economic sanctions. It has been undone, in part because Lincoln was right - it is impossible to fool all the people all of the time, and with the growth of the internet the flow of information could no longer be controlled by a few sources.

    The reason some of our journalists and academics and those with delusions of being among the power-controlling class are reacting with horror to this last election is that it has become clear that their influence is collapsing. It's not surprising that they react like French aristocrats watching the mobs breach the barricades - they may not be physically threatened, but they have been psychically devastated by the discovery that they don't matter to a large part of the population.

    Of course, they never did, but up until now they could ignore that fact - so now they must face the deluge.

    By Blogger MaxedOutMama, at 8:34 PM  

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