Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Right to Know Everything: Why a Knowledge Economy Wants to Keep Some People in the Dark

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Right to Know Everything: Why a Knowledge Economy Wants to Keep Some People in the Dark

Article excerpt

From slavery through religion and on to notions of gender equality, it takes time to convince a society to change its mind. As I write, distant winds out over the ocean are fetching up a new wave of change that will crash on society's shore in the coming decades.

The change is to do with how we view human knowledge--as private asset, or public resource. There are two drivers of this change: on the one hand, the unstoppable spread of digital technologies that allow the free sharing of information and knowledge; and on the other, the growing reliance of developed economies such as the UK on these so-called "intangible assets". The battle for influence over our changing perception of knowledge in the face of these challenges is being fought on the terrain of intellectual property rights (IPRs).

Public Innovation concludes nine months of research by the Institute for Public Policy Research into this process. According to the book's authors, William Davies and Kay Withers, "within the next few years, the only barriers preventing UK citizens from accessing any type of information or content will be legal and political ... rather than the result of technological scarcity". Davies and Withers weigh up the potential legal and political barriers, and in so doing present a significant challenge to the Labour government.

The conundrum is this: can a knowledge economy--the type of economy this government hopes to nurture--exist when knowledge is not scarce? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.