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« Lazy Equivalence on Journalism Ethics | Main | Watched by Bloggers, and Humbled »

January 14, 2005


Tim Andonian

This is one of the best threads yet here on Dan's site, glad to be whitness to all these great ideas.

Gift econ; against human nature...

Blaze, I can sort of see where you might be coming from, but I think we need to tweak that statement a little bit. maybe, the gift economy is counter to the 'monetary profit at any cost' meme so dominant of this age. But the gift economy I would have to say (sans any real research to back it up) that the gift economy was probably the first economy amongst small familial groups and giving may be the most human actions there is.
In a system that is at the extreme high end of relying on monetary currency flowing, we have seemingly trapped ourselves underneath the current. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area It is almost inconceivable to imagine gifting to any substantial amount of anything and expect to live here. Our currency economy has simple pushed any other econmies out of the civic structure and damn near out of the civic consciousness.
I do believe the gift and barter economy are still viable if allowed back into the mix, but it must enter the civic consciousness first. What are some of the ways we can frame the idea of gifting economies so that people start to see it as something of value? Especially in the affluent areas of this country; where most of the power to influence a re-structuring sits.
With the rise of china and india as real capitalist/consumtive forces to be reckoned with, I believe the US' time to act and influence is running thin.

Pay for blogging

Blogging is conversation, and conversation is market. The rise of the blogosphere and connected individuals is essentially the resurrection of the bizzare which was the center of civic life before modernization. It was the body politic, and it is re-emerging today in just the right moment as our body politic is failing.
I think it is reasonable to imagine people making a living from this conversation in some form, even making money off of it directly. But should we not understand it as the structure of our society first, Democracy, and then realize what it means to live by it next. Or maybe more exactly, learn to live through the process, working together as the connect society our founding fathers envisioned?

Good luck on your project, can you post a link if you haven't already. I don't remember if you have.

This is another example why this site's organization can be better. Dan, we are trying hard to have productive conversation, but it is getting tough to keep things straight. We'd build an even greater resource if you showed us how.


Y'all, a tip:

To close bolding, you can put:
/b /strong
in your post.


except, of course, that it didn't work.


I don't join these conversations often, so apologies in advance for any muddled-ness.

A couple points I'd raise.

1. If blogging is a conversation don't you undermine the democratic spirit of the thing by saying you have to pay to take part? It may be true that all conversations impose costs on the participants, but the radical conversation-as-democracy model I read about seems to be based on the idea that we all participate, not just those with the money and disposable resources necessary to join the conversation.

2. Richard Posner (the appellate court judge) advances the argument that the popular deliberative democracy model of so much theorizing and talk (not just about the blogosphere) is not connected to reality. Drawing on Schumpeter, he argues that democracy is - in fact - a system in which competing elites argue for popular support. It is these elites, not the people who rule. I'm not arguing that this is the model we all want. But if it is the truth about the world, should that influence our expectations of the power and viability of blogs?

Are the most effective blogs not the ones that have induced the existing powers (the big media, etc) to change there conduct? Rather than the setting up a democratic and popular power center are they more likely a new pressure group on the elites?

I don't know if any of this is useful to think about. It is what I think about, though.

3. As a working journalist, I wonder a great deal about the business model of grassroots journalism. Dan makes a very good point in his book that there are some things that the big media do (like original reporting and investigation) that you need a fairly robust revenue stream to support. The colonial and antebellum press in the United States was like the blogosphere in some ways. What it didn't have, however, was much of what we would call reporting. Not until a business model evolved that could support all those surplus cost-centers staffed with reporters and editors did something like the evil big media begin to evolve.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for the forum and the book, Dan.

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