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

Copyright 2006, Yochai Benkler.

Part III
Policies of Freedom at a Moment of Transformation

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 III
Policies of Freedom at a Moment of Transformation

Part I of this book offers a descriptive, progressive account of emerging patterns of nonmarket individual and cooperative social behavior, and an analysis of why these patterns are internally sustainable and increase information economy productivity.

Since the middle of the 1990s, we have seen intensifying battles over the institutional ecology within which the industrial mode of information production and the newly emerging networked modes compete.

This new enclosure movement has been the subject of sustained and diverse academic critique since the mid-1980s./2

Chapter 11 is devoted to an overview of the range of discrete policy areas that are shaping the institutional ecology of digital networks, in which proprietary, market-based models of information production compete with those that are individual, social, and peer produced.

Chapter 11 The Battle Over the Institutional Ecology of the Digital Environment


1. For a review of the literature and a substantial contribution to it, see James Boyle, "The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain," Law and Contemporary Problems 66 (Winter-Spring 2003): 33-74.

2. Early versions in the legal literature of the skepticism regarding the growth of exclusive rights were Ralph Brown's work on trademarks, Benjamin Kaplan's caution over the gathering storm that would become the Copyright Act of 1976, and Stephen Breyer's work questioning the economic necessity of copyright in many industries.