Stroking the Platypus


What is information, though? And what is intellectual property? These questions bring us back to the issue of alienation, and the purported difference between industrial and service or knowledge labor. The celebrated sociologist Manuel Castells acknowledges that “information, in its broadest sense, e.g. as communication of knowledge, has been critical in all societies,” but he also maintains that the late twentieth century saw the rise of “a specific form of social organization in which information generation, processing, and transmission became the fundamental sources of productivity and power…”[1] What does it mean that information (and the handling of information) is the main source of power? When asked if information was a commodity, Noam Chomsky once said this has always been so—this is nothing new. “People make such statements,” the linguist said in a 1993 interview. “I’m a little leery about them. When you say that information is a commodity, it can certainly be sold, traded, in elementary ways, like a newspaper joins Associated Press and purchases [articles] or you go to a bookstore and buy a book. Information is sold. That’s not a deep point, I don’t think.” He also noted that a good deal of what passes for knowledge, such as Henry Kissinger’s memoirs or consulting expertise, is of dubious quality at best.[2]

Whether sold as a commodity or used as an input in processes of production, knowledge has always been a key factor in the economy—from the traditional transfer of skills and knowledge to tradespeople in apprenticeships and guilds to the rise of an early book trade in Europe, and from Samuel F.B. Morse’s invention of the telegraph to the introduction of radio and television as media for news, entertainment, and commerce. The ingenuity and technical mastery of “system builders” like Morse, Alfred Vail, or, for that matter, Steve Jobs have always permitted them to harness their own scientific and technological capacities (and those of others) as sources of immense power, whether in the industrial age or the information age. In the words of an overused cliché, knowledge is power and always has been—it confers the ability to do things, to influence others.[3]

To determine the economic importance of information and intellectual property, we have to ask two questions: first, how can we define the information sector, and second, when does that sector begin to define the entire economy? How does the characterization of “information economy” fit a society where writers, artists, scientists, computer programmers, and lawyers—people who might be described as working with information—live side by side with plumbers, autoworkers, landscapers, construction workers, nurses and doctors, home inspectors, call center workers, administrative assistants, mechanics, and middle managers? Is information so capacious a category that includes the chief executive of an insurance company, the compliance analyst, and the person who handles calls from aggrieved customers under the same rubric as a teacher or a set designer in Hollywood? If it is that stretchable, does it mean much at all?

It could be that those people who make or work with intellectual property in one way or another make up the numerical majority in the workforce. By this definition, “an information economy is one whose information sector has become more dominant than its industrial or agricultural sectors,” as engineer Roberto Verzola put it. “The information sector is that sector of the economy that produces, handles, or transfers information goods. At the core of this sector are information and communications technologies (ICTs) for generating, manipulating, distributing and using information.”[4] Does the information sector include the musician, his agent, and the clerk at Barnes & Noble who sells the CD to a customer are all information workers? In the sense of “producing, handling, or transferring information goods,” they all may fit Verzola’s definition.

The information sector could be “dominant” in another sense. It may not be the biggest part of the economy, but perhaps it is the most influential or significant sector. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri note that one model within the overall economy can indicate a general trend affecting all sectors. “Immaterial labor constitutes a minority of global labor, and it is concentrated in some of the dominant regions of the globe,” they observed in 2005. “Our claim, rather, is that immaterial labor has become hegemonic in qualitative terms and has imposed a tendency on other forms of labor and society itself. Immaterial labor, in other words, is today in the same position that industrial labor was 150 years ago, when it accounted for only a small fraction of global production and was concentrated in a small part of the world”—that is, even in the heyday of mass industry in the US or Europe, most of the world’s people still tilled the fields—“but nonetheless it exerted hegemony over all other forms of production.”[5] In this sense, the information sector may be dominant because its products and services have permeated all others, reshaping agriculture and manufacturing through genetically modified seeds and automation, respectively.

The transformation of New York provides one possible model of an industrial-to-information shift. At the end World War II, New York remained an industrial giant, although its many small makers of hats and neckwear did not look quite like the mass production, heavy industry model of Detroit.[6] Thirty five years later, though, manufacturers in the five boroughs had largely disappeared, and New York magazine hailed Manhattan as an “Info City,” a hub for firms such as finance, real estate, publishing and legal services.[7] In the 1960s, over 850,000 “manufacturing and mining employees” worked in New York City, though about 100,000 of that number were actually office employees of industrial firms. Manufacturing and mining firms owned or rented 45% of the office space in midtown Manhattan during the 1970s, compared to 10% for financial and legal activities. By the start of the twenty-first century, in contrast, industrial employment in the city fell by nearly three-quarters. “Yet grass is not growing in the streets,” Matthew P. Drennan observed in 2002, perhaps unwittingly echoing William Jennings Bryan’s famous Cross of Gold speech (itself a paean to the greater importance of farming compared to manufacturing and finance). “The stock of Manhattan office space is roughly 50% greater than it was in the mid-1960s, the vacancy rate is lower, and real office rents are higher… Financial firms and law firms take one-half of the space.”[8]


Drennan realized the difficulty in saying that the information industry occupied 50% of the office space, though. He called his chapter on the subject “describing the elephant.” After all, who occupied the other 50% of office space in twenty-first century Manhattan? Retailers? Were their employees not using information technology, writing reports, answering calls or doing other work with “information”? The office space was not likely filled with heavy manufacturing, though some of it might have contained sweatshops as exploitative black market production proliferated since the 1980s.[9] The Apple Corporation symbolized the apparent economic shift of the city when it plopped the super-cool glass cube of the Apple Store on the site of the former General Motors building in midtown Manhattan. The company was the quintessential information firm on one level—yet it was also a retailer and a manufacturer, even if many of its products are assembled by Chinese suppliers thousands of miles away. Its staff of greeters and geniuses work at “producing, handling, or transferring information goods,” but they also provide advice, fix broken machines, and ring up sales of high-end consumer electronics. “Entire cities can thrive nicely on information,” the Wall Street Journal crowed in 1980, but do the various things they thrive on have anything in common?

In the famous parable about the blind men groping an elephant, they all come to different conclusions about what animal is before them because they feel different parts of it. If the information sector is such an animal, it is one with an even more bewildering array of features. Perhaps the platypus offers a better analogy—a beast whose features seem to come from truly different categories. Apple is one part service, one part retail, one part research, one part aesthetic and design, and one part manufacturing, yet the characterization of this firm as the quintessential information company focuses attention on only one aspect of what it does. Is a “genius” at Apple not more like a plumber or air conditioning repairman than a retail clerk or researcher? They may draw on expert knowledge to fix the problem with your iPod, and many other trades and professions draw on such expertise without turning it into a copyrighted or patented commodity for sale on the market.

Perhaps it is the intangible quality of expertise than qualifies both the Apple repairman and the lawyer as information workers. Verzola goes on to stipulate that, unlike the products of agriculture, manufacturing, and mining, information is a “nonmaterial good.” Verzola stresses this ethereal, abstract quality of information—the original expression or concept, the copyrighted text or image or patented invention that costs a great deal to make in the first place but can be cheaply reproduced by a variety of means. This is what Michael Ryan called the “appropriability problem” in his 1998 book Knowledge Diplomacy, a study of global competition in the high-tech and entertainment industries.[10] Information, though, remains a thing—a nonconcrete, intellectual thing, but still something that is produced for sale and exchange. The information industry, in a sense, is just a manufacturing industry with a particularly bad problem with theft.

Seeing the economy in these terms favors certain sectors, such as entertainment and pharmaceuticals, that wish to portray the buying and selling of their products as the most crucial dimension of the current economy, yet it does little to help us understand how vital sectors such as healthcare, education, and retail fit into the broader economic picture. The idea of the information economy is a classic error of synecdoche, mistaking the part for the whole—or assuming one part adequately represents the rest. The expertise that a lawyer provides a client, the care that a nurse provides a patient, the feedback that a teacher writes on a student’s paper—all could be classified as “information,” in some elastic sense or another. But they could easily be described in other ways, as abilities, skills, intuition, empathy, perceptiveness, and so on. To say the genius at Apple is more like a computer scientist or artist than a plumber or nurse is simply to make a choice about how to characterize what makes that person’s labor valuable. It requires one to see their intellect and abilities as things, bought and sold by an employer in the form of information—to separate the value of their capability from the workers themselves, and then declare that this thing is the most crucial commodity in the economy.

From Intellect to Information, and from Information to Property

In the past forty years, though, the persistent cry of the computer, software, music, film, and publishing industries has been that information possesses a unique economic value, distinct from all other kinds of goods. Their products must be protected for the greater good—i.e., without the guarantee of government defense against appropriation, their costly investments in new information will be for naught. They will be unsustainable. Given that information is the “fundamental source of productivity and power,” it seems foolish not to ensure that their information is secure from exploitation by consumers and competitors.

But is the “information” itself—the thing, the work, the copyrighted or patented stuff—the real source of value? Like the industrial product, information is the alienated form of the worker’s labor—in this case, his or her creativity, ingenuity, knowledge or skill. In most industries, knowledge is not a thing that resides in the material world – though film and pharmaceuticals represent potentially contrary examples, where huge up-front costs are embodied in a physical (or, for that matter, digital or abstract) form that can be exploited by free-riders relatively easily. Legal theorists Yochai Benkler and James Boyle have both suggested that certain industries or business models may require greater or lesser protection than others to guarantee their viability, all while supporting a looser and more limited property rights regime. The money and effort that go into creating a song, for instance, are almost in all cases likely to be less than the resources necessary to create a cure for HIV, but current law provides the song protection for the life of the author plus seventy years, while the patent for an HIV cure would receive twenty years of protection. For the musician, his talent remains within himself—its alienated form is the printed song or electronic sound recording, which in many cases will belong to a music publisher or record label that reaps most of the benefit. But the publisher or label does not ultimately have access to the artist’s innate creativity, even if a restrictive contract demands years of legal dependence. The presence, the personality, the skill resides in the artist, and is accessible only through him—in the studio, in a concert, in person.

His intellect is general
His intellect is general

Italian theorist Paolo Virno makes the case that such skills are not limited to the so-called “creative class” of scientists, designers, writers and others who directly create or process intellectual property. He also eschews the idea of “immaterial labor” that otherwise like-minded thinkers like Hardt and Negri use to describe a new economy oriented toward serving, communicating with and caring for others. Virno instead focuses of faculties of language and intellect as the central drivers of this economic model:

What I hold true is that post-Fordism mobilizes all the faculties that characterize our species: language, abstract thinking, disposition toward learning, plasticity, the habit of not having solid habits. When I speak of a “mass intellectuality,” I am certainly not referring to biologists, artists, mathematicians, and so on, but to the human intellect in general, to the fact that it has been put to work as never before.[11]

In post-Fordism, Virno invokes the term that scholars use to describe a more flexible, fast-changing economic model of customization, small batch production, and information technology that has theoretically followed the age of mass production (as epitomized by Henry Ford and his great, standardized consumer good, the Model T).[12] But his emphasis on intellect as opposed to information is well-placed. We do not live in the Matrix or some other virtual reality world, so far as I know. We live in a world populated by material things, that in many respects are still produced through the hard discipline of standardization and manual labor that characterized the factories of Ford and Taylor’s day. Those factories may be in Vietnam or China, but even economic processes at home remain stubbornly material. For the farmer and the fruit picker, the result of their labor is still a product—an apple, an orange—and the surgeon’s labor is hardly “immaterial” when he stitches up your chest. Hardt and Negri acknowledge that “caring labor is certainly entirely immersed in the corporeal, the somatic,” but they add “the affects it produces are nonetheless immaterial.”[13] The insistence on the immaterial amid flesh, blood and metal seems curious. A healthy human being is the ideal outcome of medical care, and health could be viewed as either an intangible quality (well-being) or a physical reality (a functioning human body). But what enables the surgeon or nurse to work is their own knowledge, experience, and aptitude—traits embodied, in a sense, in their own selves, irreducible to a fact or commodity, a copyrightable or patentable expression. In this sense we could describe such capabilities as both material—to the extent they reside in human muscles and memory—as well as immaterial—to the extent they cannot literally be turned into a thing or commodity.

Hardt and Negri have rightly pointed out the penetration of information technology into every field from agriculture to manufacturing to healthcare, transforming the total economy and not just the fields most clearly defined as high-tech (say, software or pharmaceuticals). The crucial part of this picture, though, is not the technology itself but what it lets people do—the words, ideas, expressions, and decisions that sluice through the channels of telecommunications. The technology would be useless if no one possessed the skills or intellect to do something with it. The mobilization of language, intellect, and other “faculties,” as Virno describes them, is the real source of value, as seen both in the great flow of wealth that streams into services based on expertise (education, real estate, healthcare) and the conversion of human expression into valuable commodities (copyrighted entertainment, trademarks and brands, patents).

An example from American economic history will help to clarify this distinction, and show how the emphasis on human intellect in its commodity form (information or intellectual property) is not so much wrong as misplaced. Historians have long puzzled over why the southeastern United States failed to industrialize or develop along the lines of the Northeast and Midwest for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They have cited factors such as the failure of a plantation economy to generate consumer spending and a diversified economy (slaves don’t buy things), the annihilation of planter wealth during the Civil War (massive amounts of capital invested human “property” was wiped off the books), and the dearth of public provision for education and infrastructure in the South, among other deficiencies. Jon Wiener and others advanced the “Prussian Road” thesis to account for region’s failure to develop after the war, claiming that the planter elite stifled the growth of democracy, industrialization and urbanization in an effort to maintain its control of Southern society.[14] Each of these theories has its merits, though other scholars have emphasized the influence of a rising class of industrialists and “New South” entrepreneurs in the late nineteenth century (immortalized in the figure of Flem Snopes in the novels of William Faulkner).[15] Moreover, these theories do not directly explain why the South continued to experience lower wages and higher rates of crime, poverty and illiteracy even after the planter class had long departed the scene in the twentieth century.

To this literature, historian David Carlton has offered a compelling alternative, explaining the old Confederacy’s lower standard of living and continued dependence on outside capital in terms of skill and expertise. The lack of local funding for enterprise was a factor – planters who once owned slaves now only really owned land, and had little in the way of cash or liquid assets to invest. However, even when Southern entrepreneurs could turn money toward building factories and equipment, their ventures often failed. Why? Carlton cites the inability of Southern businesses to anticipate consumer demand and produce goods that actually met the needs of Northern businesses and consumers. The South’s own internal market was famously weak – few Southerners could afford to indulge in consumer goods, and when they could they were not high-value or refined products. Meanwhile, the relative weakness of Southern industry meant that local enterprises could not sell producer goods, i.e. intermediate products, like parts and equipment, that were destined to be used by other businesses, not purchased by consumers.[16]

Southern industrialists had to depend on arrangements with Northern affilitates to market their goods, lacking the expertise or proximity to the market that would allow them to modify products to suit the changing needs of consumers and business. Walter James Forbes Liddell, for instance, was an engineer from Philadelphia who attempted to set up a foundry for steam engines in Charlotte, NC in the late 1870s. Despite his education, ownership of several patents, and even a network of ties to Northern businesspeople, he found little success. Lacking direct access to buyers, he could not monitor the success or failure of products and modify their imperfections. He may have had a decent product and control of intellectual property, but his inability to merchandise—to collect information about the market, maintain relationships with consumers, and coordinate supply with demand—curtailed his chance of success. A firm’s actual ability to adapt to challenges and respond to demand was at least as important, if not more so, than the information embodied in Liddell’s patents.

Likewise, the South has continued to lag in developing the most advanced products and technologies, relying on outside investment from firms both low-tech (light manufacturing such as textiles) and high-tech (IBM, Glaxo, and other anchors of North Carolina’s Research Triangle) from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century. Rather than spawning their own indigenous enterprises, Southern states continued to look abroad for skilled labor, entrepreneurship, and capital to spur development. Even the Research Triangle’s relative success at creating jobs could not change the fact that the project failed to generate many local start-up companies, instead perpetuating the region’s role as a satellite of corporations centered somewhere else.[17]

As Walter Liddell learned, intellectual property is not enough. It is only the fixed form of human ingenuity. To value it above all means putting property before capability, ownership before invention. To borrow Marx’s vivid description of capital, it is “dead labor.”[18] Information represents the alienated form of intellectual labor and skill, embodied in a product or copyrighted work or patented invention. When a corporation hires a skilled person to work in an office or lab, it generally acquires the right to own and exploit any invention the worker creates in the course of his or her employment. The invention is the thing to be exploited, but the source of value resides in the worker. For the worker who has a great idea that is subsequently patented and exploited by the corporation (or the university, for that matter), the alienation is little different from the manufacturing worker who applies his effort to a material good that is later bought and sold for profit.

But the mystique of intellectual property and the information economy provides a justification for this appropriation, by treating knowledge and creativity as things rather than an attributes of individuals. What matters most in advancing our technological, scientific, and creative frontiers is the creative capacities of people, their ability to do things and reason and create, not the market value of a fixed expression of intellect or imagination.

In fact, when knowledge is fixed in a physical form, it is worthless without a capable mind to take hold of it and use it. Information in itself is nothing without being mixed with the dynamic qualities of people—the skills, intelligence, and capacities of workers, readers, listeners, viewers, and consumers—to create a greater, emergent property. The discourse of the information society has focused entirely on the shadow of the thing and not the thing itself. And this is precisely because information is not a thing, rolling off the assembly line, sold to other businesses or the public, protected by law and security forces from the depredations of pirates and shoplifters. Communication is not just a transmission or a transaction.[19] Knowledge, information, and creativity are ultimately attributes of individuals and communities that have value due to their utility between and among the people who embody them, not as (physical or digital) items of exchange in a marketplace. Plenty of room remains to capitalize on the demand for providing access to knowledge and creative expression in a fixed form—buying an mp3 on iTunes or Amazon, ordering the deluxe boxed set of a favorite band or hanging a framed painting on the wall, for which no electronic or immaterial substitute could suffice.[20] But the phenomena of the viral video, the radio hit, the most-read article on a website illustrate that information is its own currency of exchange. Like a currency that rises in value because it is in greater demand, a work increases in power and significance as it becomes more useful, as it is shared and circulated and enjoyed by people. The most circulated is the most valuable.

The ideology of the information economy presumes that every unpaid use of work is a loss—the music and film industries have long complained that pirate listening and viewing substitute for astronomical amounts of would-be sales. Ironically, the discourse of the post-industrial information economy posits a business model and market akin to that of the industrial age, where scarcity is necessary to ensure the value of goods to be bought and sold (in this case, information goods like music, movies, and software). Substitute screenwriters for factory workers and movies for shoes and you have the same basic model, where any kind of copying is practically akin to shoplifting. This vision is a narrow and self-serving one, though understandable enough from the perspective of the large studios and labels that seek to maintain their dominant position and way of doing business. Yet it displaces the location of value from the scientists, artists, musicians, and other workers on to a corporation that holds their embodied skills and talents as assets – a predictable response in a society where workers sell their labor for the momentary privilege of getting to eat and go on living.

The idea of a post-industrial or information society has obscured the ways that the people who actually produce intellectual property remain in an unequal struggle with their superiors that is not entirely different from the classic nineteenth century model of proletariat and bourgeoisie. The textures and the complexities of everyday working life in today’s lab, office, or school are profoundly different from the days of the dark Satanic mill, but the basic relation that appropriates the value of labor and turns it into a “thing” is too often misrepresented by the very ideology that pretends that information is different from manufacture while treating it exactly like an object of exchange. Two examples will help reveal the internal contradictions of the information ideology that so confuses what really creates value and drives growth in today’s world:

A plumber is not typically viewed as an information worker, though along a different axis of classification he might be viewed as a tradesperson with a skillset not entirely different from a tech support worker or graphic designer—a range of knowledge and capabilities unique to members of his line of work, with a value on the market because such skills are relatively scarce. The value of the plumber is not in the list of facts that could be written in a book called Introduction to Plumbing. The value is in his ability to apply his own received knowledge and practical experience to a problem and solve it. It remains possible that a robot or other technology could be designed to automatically assess and solve plumbing problems, but today the critical elements of expertise and judgment still inhere in the person doing the work. We may live in an information economy, but we live in one with plenty of plumbers and carpenters and electricians and home inspectors and real estate agents who apply knowledge in a way that is not tangibly bought and sold or copyrighted or patented as information.

Time Enough at Last

The second example is a familiar and iconic one of the late 1950s. In a poignant episode of The Twilight Zone called “Time Enough at Last,” a bookworm played by Burgess Meredith was constantly harassed in his job at a bank because of his desire to read. He almost disdains other people, because he would rather be alone with a book. He takes a lunch break in the bank’s vault to avoid everyone else, and a nuclear explosion leaves him as one of the only survivors. At first, he is thrilled to finally have “time enough at last” to read all he wants. He finds a public library that has been leveled to the ground, but where most of the books remain undestroyed. Though he is at first thrilled to read them, he soon bends down to pick up a book – his glasses fall off and are smashed, and he is left alone in a post-apocalyptic, irradiated world of books he cannot read. “It’s not fair!” he cries.

The Twilight Zone allegory only affirms that knowledge is not an end in itself, not without people. If the industrial economy took the intellect and energy and strength of workers and turned it into surplus value for Carnegie and Ford, then the economy of today uses the skills and creativity of everyone working for Disney and Interscope and turns them into an argument for their own rent-seeking efforts to preserve the status quo. (They also absorb the attention and input of consumers as another source of value, as exemplified by the long-running TV franchise America’s Funniest Home Videos.)[21] A handful of people literally create copyrighted material in the course of their jobs; they are paid to show up and transfer their knowledge or talents to a physical form that can be traded on the market. The film and publishing industries seem to fit this model, at least as far as the part of the workforce made up of directors, actors, and writers is concerned.

The vast majority of people who work in so-called service or knowledge industries, though, are hired for the ephemeral things they can do on a daily basics. In fact, thing is just the wrong word, except in the sense of “doing things.” Employers often need these workers not because the product they produce has a market value, like a sock produced in a textile mill, but for the activities they are able to perform, which are never turned into property in any meaningful sense. It is their facility with a spreadsheet, their ability to persuade people over the phone, their skill at cutting hair or diagnosing illness or mobilizing a body of knowledge to teach and counsel students.

This post is part of a four-part series that ToM will be running over the Summer. The first installment was “The Thing Called ‘Information’: Understanding Alienation in the Postindustrial Economy.”  The next is “Information Goes to School.”  For earlier pieces on related topics, click here.


[1] Greg Downey, “Commentary: Labour and Information-Technology Revolutions,” 228. See also Castells, Rise of Network Society, 21.

[2] Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian, Keeping the Rabble in Line, 16 June 1993,

[3] Richard J. Wolfe and Richard W. Patterson, Charles Thomas Jackson, “The Head Behind the Hands”: Applying Science to Implement Discovery and Invention in Early Nineteenth Century America (Norman Publishing, 2007), 158.

[4] Roberto Verzola, “The Emerging Information Economy: An Overview,” in Pradip Thomas and Jan Servaes, eds., Intellectual Property Rights and Communications in Asia: Conflicting Traditions (SAGE, 2006), 25.

[5] Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin, 2005), 109.

[6] Joseph D. Kelly, “Its Post-War Puzzle: Will Bigness Prove an Asset or a Liability,” New York Times, 7 July 1944, 1.

[7] Richard F. Janssen, “Information Remolds U.S. Economy,” Wall Street Journal, 23 February 1981, 1.

[8] Matthew P. Drennan, The Information Economy and American Cities (JHU Press, 2002), 15.

[9] David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), 152.

[10] Ryan, Knowledge Diplomacy, 5.

[11] Branden W. Joseph, Alessia Ricciardi, and Paolo Virno, “Interview with Paolo Virno,” Grey Room 21 (Fall, 2005): 29.

[12] Hardt and Negri, Empire, 290.

[13] Hardt and Negri, Empire, 293.

[14] C. Vann Woodward, “Origins of Origins,” in John B. Boles and Bethany L. Johnson, eds., Origins of the New South Fifty Years Later: The Continuing Influence of a Historical Classic (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003), 144-60. See also Jonathan Wiener, Social Origins of the New South: Alabama, 1860-1885 (Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1978).

[15] Don H. Doyle, Faulkner’s County: The Historical Roots of Yoknapatawpha (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 295-6.

[16] David L. Carlton, “The Revolution from Above: The National Market and the Beginnings of Industrialization in North Carolina,” Journal of American History 77 (Sept., 1990): 458-62.

[17] Edward J. Malecki, “Research and Development and the Geography of High-Technology Complexes,” in John Rees, ed., Technology, Regions, and Policy (Totowa, NJ: Rowan & Littlefield, 1986), 59.

[18] Karl Marx, “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844,” in The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker (Longon and New York: Norton, 1972), 71-74.

[19] George Myerson, Heidegger, Habermas, and the Mobile Phone (London: Totem Books, 1997).

[20] See the example of Radiohead’s “free” album In Rainbows, which the band gave away in exchange for donations but also sold as a CD in stores and a deluxe box set, in Alex Cummings, “Is Piracy Killing Independent Music?” Brooklyn Rail, December 2007.

[21] Tiziana Terranova, “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy,” Social Text 63 (Summer 2000): 33-9.