The New Information Commons: Community Information Partnerships and Civic Change


From p. 2: "Today, the fossil fuels and muscle of the industrial age have given way to the new economic engine of information. The ties that connect us, even around the corner, are increasingly electronic. The information superhighway and the information-communications- entertainment industries are expressions of great creativity and entrepreneurial energy. Yet their vast scale, pace, concentrations of power, and logic of activity driven solely by the bottom line also present new problems. Many parents feel little control over what their children watch on TV, listen to on the radio, or buy in record stores. Growing numbers express concern about the misuse or sale of private information on the Internet. Critics observe that as in agriculture where we have come to recognize the danger of mono-cultures, we face dangers of a mass media mono-culture with decreasing variety and choice, as industries become more concentrated and local and particular cultures are displaced and uprooted. "How can we again make private wealth the servant of the commonwealth? Our fundamental proposition is that we need new strategies and approaches to match the new age we live in. Citizens need not only to be involved in the construction of a public response to the commercial forces of the information age. They need to be at the center of the ongoing response itself. The commonwealth needs 'the commons'"



new commons, information, Internet, mass media, democracy