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Fishing with Dynamite: Knowledge Commons in the Global Political Economy

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: May, Christopher
Conference: International Studies Association Annual Conference
Location: Chicago, IL
Conf. Date: February
Date: 2001
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8059
Sector: Global Commons
Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): intellectual property rights
information commons
tragedy of the commons
Abstract: "It has become a commonplace that the processes of globalisation include the emergence of a global information society. The central resource information society both produces and exploits is knowledge or information, and thus issues around intellectual property have become increasingly salient to political economic analysis of the contemporary system. In this paper I briefly note the various schemes of justifying (intellectual) property before focusing on justifications centered on the efficient use of (knowledge) resources. This leads me to examine the construction of scarcity in knowledge which is the driving force behind intellectual property protection, and the consequences of this scarcity. I argue that in light of these consequences the distribution of knowledge and the need for global knowledge commons is becoming a pressing political problem. Rather than an arcane problem of legal structures, the TRIPs agreement and its settlement of intellectual property relations represents one of the most important ethical problems of the new millennium. One way forward would be to develop an 'environmentalism of the net' as a new politics of the knowledge commons."

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