Review: The Future of Ideas–The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World

5 Star, Civil Society, Consciousness & Social IQ, Democracy, Education (General), Future, Information Society

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5.0 out of 5 stars Public Warning of looting and Destruction of the E-Commons,

February 27, 2002
Lawrence Lessig
I struggled with this book, in part because I really dislike the manner in which the law has been complicated to the point of unreason–beyond the ken of normal people. Having concluded the book, however, I have to say this is really worth the effort. The author is laying bare the raw threats to the future of the electronic commons. He discusses in detail how very specific government policies to sell and control bandwidth, and very specific corporate legal claims being backed by “the people's” lawyers within government, are essentially “fencing” the Internet commons and severely constraining both the rights of the people and the prospects for the future of ideas and innovation.I am not a lawyer and I cannot speak to the points of law, but I am a voter and I can speak to that; what is happening to the Internet through legal machinations that are largely invisible to the people is a travesty, a crime against humanity even if permissible by law, and perhaps grounds for a public uprising demanding the recall of any official that permits and perpetuates the theft of the commons by corporations and their lawyers.

In the aftermath of 9-11, when our secret national intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities failed us, there is a need for a restoration of the people's intelligence in the aggregate as our first line of defense against enemies both foreign and domestic. I regard this book as a very serious, thoughtful, and well-intentioned “public intelligence estimate” and warning, of the harm to our security and prosperity that will ensue from a legal system that is now “out of control” and not being audited by the common sense of the people.

This book makes it clear that if the people are inert and inattentive, they will be enslaved, “virtually speaking.” If you thought Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky was scarcy, or Norman Cousins' The Pathology of Power, then this book is for you.

Along with Internet standards acceptable to the people, we now appear to need a public advocacy group, funded by the people, to fight these corporate lawyers at every turn, whilst helping our less than stellar government lawyers cope….

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