business models

The Macro-Economic Challenges of Building a New Commons-Based Economy

As commercial interests try to convert what has essentially been a commons into a total market order, the Internet is experiencing a mid-life crisis.  The open Internet is in the process of being enclosed by a variety of commercial forces.  The struggle for political and creative freedom is getting more urgent and complicated as commercial forces try to “develop” the Internet.

The challenge for people who believe in free culture is to reinterpret the core values of the Internet and somehow develop new ways to protect them in today’s more complicated environment.

So what the some of the key macro-economic trends of our time?

The Rise of Open Source Hardware

It may be too early to declare it a runaway trend, but it is clear that businesses dedicated to producing "open software hardware" are gaining a foothold. In a short video, Phil Torrone, editor of MAKE and Limor Friend of Adafruit — two leaders in the field — give a quick run-down of thirteen companies that are now earning more than $1 milion in revenues from producing open-source hardware products.