The Wealth of Networks:
How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
by Yochai Benkler, Yale University Press

Copyright 2006, Yochai Benkler.

Part II
The Networked Information Economy

This online version has been created under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike license - see - and has been reformatted and designated as recommended reading - with an accompanying Moodle course - for the NGO Committee on Education of CONGO - the Conference Of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations - in conjunction with the Committee's commitment to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World and related international Decades, agreements, conventions and treaties.


"Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing."

"Such are the differences among human beings in their sources of pleasure, their susceptibilities of pain, and the operation on them of different physical and moral agencies, that unless there is a corresponding diversity in their modes of life, they neither obtain their fair share of happiness, nor grow up to the mental, moral, and aesthetic stature of which their nature is capable."

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

Part II
The Political Economy of Property and Commons

How a society produces its information environment goes to the very core of freedom.

The networked information economy makes individuals better able to do things for and by themselves, and makes them less susceptible to manipulation by others than they were in the mass-media culture.

Unlike the relationship of information production to freedom, the relationship between the organization of information production and distributive justice is not intrinsic.

The basic intuition and popular belief that the Internet will bring greater freedom and global equity has been around since the early 1990s.

The chapters in this part focus on major liberal commitments or concerns.

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