war & peace
commerce, cash and casualties
This page considers the shape of commerce in digital environments.
It covers -
Robert Gilpin's The Challenge of Global Capitalism:
The World Economy in the 21st Century (Princeton:
Princeton Uni Press 2000) and Saskia Sassen's Globalization
& Its Discontents: Essays On The New Mobility of People
& Money (New York: New Press 1999) map the terrain.
Exploring E-Commerce, Global E-Business & E-Societies
(Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall 2000) by Craig Fellenstein
& Ron Wood is a drier academic study. We recommend
instead Wendy Currie's The Global Information Society:
A New Paradigm for the 21st Century Corporation (New
York: Wiley 2000).
The American Internet Advantage: Global Themes &
Implications of the Modern World (Lanham: University
Press of America 2000) is a crisp examination by Michael
Hart of ongoing US dominance of the web.
The Friction-Free Economy (New York: HarperCollins
1997) by T.G. Lewis and Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwidth
Will Revolutionise Our World (New York: Free Press
2000) by George Gilder offer one view of digital commerce.
Paulina Borsook's Cyberselfish:
A Critical Romp Through the Terribly Libertarian Culture
of High Tech (New York: PublicAffairs 1999) notes
cyberlibertarians who are so terrified of big government
seem to have no problems with big business. The fundamental
structure of the Net will prevent corporate dominance,
Wired founder Lou Rossetto thus argued that
"this revolution really is out of control ...
and the larger the company at the top, the more clueless
Barbrook similarly notes that "in the digital utopia,
everybody will be both hip and rich", questioning
the 'Californian Ideology' as a bizarre fusion of the
cultural bohemianism of San Francisco with the hi-tech
industries of Silicon Valley" something that "promiscuously
combines the freewheeling spirit of the hippies and the
entrepreneurial zeal of the yuppies." We've explored some
of the issues here.
A corrective to some of the 'new economy' delirium is
provided by Paul Strassman
and Robert Gordon.
For a more general examination consult other pages of
this guide or Michael Noll's Highway of Dreams: A Critical
View Along the Information Superhighway (Mahwah: Erlbaum
For the moment there are more detailed pointers in the
separate Economy guide.
busking and the performance economy
Forecasts of the imminent 'death of copyright' (often
with the same fervour as predictions of the 'death of
capitalism') have sometimes been accompanied by assertions
that although copyright lawyers and intermediaries such
as record companies will disappear, creators will flourish
in a new 'performance economy'.
Some ideologues dismiss problems of recognition
and rewards by asserting that notions of originality are
as outmoded and pernicious as books: in the digital millennium
everyone can and indeed become a creator. Others, with
a marginally better grip on reality, assert that creators
will be rewarded with esteem and remuneration through
'busking', making a living on the lecture circuit, concert
appearances, poetry readings, sale of t-shirts or product
endorsements rather than from licensing intellectual property.
Such assertions are a form of faith-based economics. Few
creators appear likely to make substantial income through
appearances and endorsements. Just as importantly, many
probably do not want emulate Dickens and Thackeray on
the lecture circuit and do not have the requisite presentation
A more detailed discussion of busking is featured elsewhere
on this site.
A discussion of 'cyber-begging' or 'online panhandling'
is featured elsewhere on
next page (work