Downloading – nothing more than a shift in value

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Good Old Trend

I’m re-reading Netocracy by Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist, a Swedish book that was slightly before its time when it was first released in 2000 (English in 2002). I will probably be referring to this book quite a lot in the next few posts as I think it’s more relevant now than ever. It’s not news in any way, but I aim to use this blog as some sort of mental notebook in order to build up a thesis, rather than to just document the thesis that I already have. I’ll use the category “Quickfix” for these posts, in case you want to skip them.

The book describes the shift between feudalism to capitalism and now the ongoing shift to informationalism. Bard and Söderkvist describe how the value of property in feudal times changed over night as the capitalistic view on valuing property differed radically. Estates were previously valued by the distance from the royal residence (and weren’t for sale, obviously). In capitalism, the estate was suddenly valued on other standards – size, style etc – and now had a price tag. The feudal way of valuing estates was rendered useless and not accepted, and in time it disappeared completely. Enough background.

Let’s move over to the web instead. Music and film also have a price tag in our capitalistic society. But as it happens, some people don’t acknowledge the monetary value of these products anymore. They downloaded it for free instead. Because they are cheap and don’t want to pay? In a capitalistic point of view: yes. But seen in an informationalistic perspective they simply don’t accept the value that these products traditionally have been given. It does not mean they don’t value it at all, but the framework and meme in which they use is one not shared by the creators.

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