MIT makes a bold move
Jose G. Perez
jgperez at netzero.net
Thu Apr 5 21:38:11 MDT 2001
I think this news that Vanessa brings us is of great symptomatic
It shows that in one of the "great" universities, and one where extensive
work has been done on the internet and the future of information
technologies, the idea that "information wants to be free" has triumphed.
This isn't the instinctive reaction of a young hacker grokking for the first
time the boundles possibilities opened up by internetworked computers, but
the reasoned, through-through response of a major educational institution's
administration to the changes going on around it. MIT's administrators, at
least, have figured out that, ineviatbly, *this* parade is going down main
street. You might as well get at the front of it and pretend to lead it,
nothing else makes any sense.
As I've treid to explain before in connection with Napster, this is a result
of the actual mode of production of copies of "content" having outstripped
the existing capitalist commodity relations. And what we find is NOT that
"content" becomes "worthless," but that the content and its distribution has
been *freed* from enslavement to commodity exchange. I think experience will
show that "content" retains not just its use value, but that this use value
*increases* in the case of "intellectual property" precisely by having the
content freed from being property. In other words, the answer, at least a
very first rought draft of an answer, to the question of what distribution
will be like under a fully-developed communism is ... Napster. In the
future, everything will be *shared,* not traded.
We are still, of course, a world away from that except in some very narrow
In addition to getting to the stage where the development of science and
technique makes copying or producing useful physical objects as effortless
as it is to copy a file over the internet, there is the *slight* problem of
reorganizing society on that basis.
The *ferocious* campaign of AOL and the other media monopolies against file
sharing, EVEN THOUGH AT THIS STAGE IT BENEFITS THEM FINANCIALLY BY PROMOTING
THEIR PHYSICAL PRODUCTS, shows that capitalists value ONE thing more than
profits, and that is capitalist property itself.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Vanessa DD" <jajije at cantv.net>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2001 10:06 PM
Subject: MIT makes a bold move
They have already been criticized for it, but it is the kind of thing that
people who can't afford IVy leagues but do have the brains need. People in
other universities have been worried that this will make them lose money,
and MIT students are worried that 'they will have lost their money if others
can get the same things for free.
check it out at:
MIT WILL BE POSTING MANY OF ITS COURSES COMPLETE ON THE NET FOR FREE!!!!!!!!
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