Monday, 15 February 2016
The Internet and the Social Economy Commons
In 2016 electronic information is a basic necessity of life, not a frill, and everybody needs access to it affordably and quickly. It can save lives and has done. Like the long dwindling. and multiply violated, commons of air and water the Internet now has a status as the world's largest commons, built as a public resource and available to all to utilise largely as they choose. The many without their own technology who crowd to public libraries for access are proof of the need. In principle, the Internet is a commons of need as well as capacity. This is not to ignore the various cultural and economic constraints that apply to it, what we may call the social determinants of knowledge, but nonetheless the Internet, through the Web, is the closest thing we now have to the original commons, the medieval village green where all could freely gather and communicate. By his support for Bell Canada's appeal of a ruling in support for greater high-sped Internet access Mayor John Tory shows his true colours, perhaps, opting for corporate dominance. Lacking a public investment in high-speed Internet more actors are the best alternative for the many without the financial capacity to fund their own high-speed access. Kudos to Toronto City Council for rejecting Tory's position . Time for broad commitment to support the Internet Commons as the growing Open Access movement has done. Let's make the Internet commons a truly social economy commons. For everybody.