By Yann Moulier Boutang
I have not yet read extensively the huge and referential book edited by Gaëlle and Amy. No doubt this e-meeting and e-discussion will help every contributor to master it in a more rapid and proper way. Reading a book collectively provide richer insights inasmuch that each of us is overcrowded by many books and starts reading plenty of them without time to absorb them thoroughly. I find the rule of this exercise (each contributor choose another contribution in the book) a good incentive.
I have chosen the contribution of Yochaï Benkler whose general book The Wealth of Networks I retain a seminal book of the new political economy I am trying to promote with my students. Benkler using such a title, wanted to ring a bell I guess : the bell of the famous The Wealth of Nations of our good old Adam Smith. For its importance and the decisive break through it provide I would preferred to compare it to Ricardo’s Principles and Ronald Coase first farewell to the classic and neo-classic economics. For economists generally so narrow minded when dealing with other disciplines, I find astonishing that a jurist has brought in, all at once, so many contents and bricks for the new building up of economics and in completely different meaning than that of Posner in law economics, since the later has consolidated the traditional axioms of mean stream economic instead of threatening the very basis of both neo-classic and heterodox schools like Benkler did.
Hence I was quite curious of his contribution in the field of political science.
In his “The idea of Access to Knowledge and the Information Commons : Long-Term Trends and Basic Elements” (pp. 217-235 of the Book) Benkler tries to embrace the unity and consistency of the A2K movement as a political movement, that mean something already rooted in institutional and historical political life (not an utopian idea about future politics).