Skip the (Capitalist) Intermediaries: Freedom, Democracy, and Participation in the Economy and Culture
Keywords: socialism, capitalism, internet, copyright, means of production
AbstractA significant parallel can be drawn between a socialist argument about how to regulate property in the means of production and the liberal theorist Lawrence Lessig’s argument about how to regulate property in ideas. The two are particularly alike in the emphasis they place on the kind of participation—and the resulting freedom and democracy—enabled by having access to the means of production. Highlighting the parallel could help socialists and liberal theorists of intellectual property to see how they can advance each other’s causes: socialism could eliminate the threat of privatization of the means of producing culture that liberals like Lessig rightly worry about; and if the arguments about ownership of ideas made by Lessig and others like him end up gaining currency, then arguments about ownership of the means of production made by socialist theorists could have more resonance with larger numbers of people than is currently the case.
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