The people who are perhaps the most screwed by open culture are the middle classes of intellectual and cultural creation. The freelance studio musician the stringer selling reports to newspapers from warzones are both crucial contributors to culture. Each pays dues and devotes years to honing a craft. They used to live off the trickle down effects of the old system, and like the middle class at large, they are precious. They get nothing from the new system.
Harold suggests a reinvention is needed:
The trickle-down effects, that Lanier mentions, no longer share enough wealth for a viable middle class. We need to create our own network effects, but (this is important) it has to be within our own networks, not inside someone else’s walled garden.
Harold pulls some interesting threads together. For me, it meshes with the idea that we need to manage our own piece of the ecosystem more skilfully, and avoid the trap of trying to manage the whole system.
By the way, I always feel a bit uncomfortable with the whole middle-class thing. That’s a topic for another day.