Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vacation homework

Here Comes Everybody Before we all go our separate ways, I need to set your vacation homework. Please read this before next term, and we'll discuss it online when we get back after Easter:

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.

Why is this book important? For one thing, it explains why we need the UoL Blog Network, and similar non-institutional skunkworks outfits, like PlanetOU :-)

Large decreases in transaction costs create activities that can't be taken on by businesses, or indeed by any institution, because no matter how cheap it becomes to perform a particular activity, there isn't enough payoff to support the cost incurred by being an institution in the first place.

Social tools provide ... an alternative: action by loosely structured groups, operating without managerial direction and outside the profit motive.

In any profession, particularly one that has existed long enough that no one can remember a time when it didn't exist, members have a tendency to equate provisional solutions to particular problems with deep truths about the world. This is true of newspapers today and of the media generally. The media industries have suffered first and most from the recent collapse in communication costs.

And education?

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