ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context : OnMarkets, TypesOfThinking

Read with : AgoricSystems

ClayShirky's thinking is always about decentralized, network shaped systems. But his recent (2005) writing has taken a turn for emphasizing the "market" like organization :

For example, in OntologyOverrated, what he thinks is coming is :

  • Market Logic - As we get used to the lack of physical constraints, as we internalize the fact that there is no shelf and there is no disk, we're moving towards market logic, where you deal with individual motivation, but group value.*

As Schachter says of, "Each individual categorization scheme is worth less than a professional categorization scheme. But there are many, many more of them." If you find a way to make it valuable to individuals to tag their stuff, you'll generate a lot more data about any given object than if you pay a professional to tag it once and only once. And if you can find any way to create value from combining myriad amateur classifications over time, they will come to be more valuable than professional categorization schemes, particularly with regards to robustness and cost of creation.

The other essential value of market logic is that individual differences don't have to be homogenized. Look for the word 'queer' in almost any top-level categorization. You will not find it, even though, as an organizing principle for a large group of people, that word matters enormously. Users don't get to participate those kind of discussions around traditional categorization schemes, but with tagging, anyone is free to use the words he or she thinks are appropriate, without having to agree with anyone else about how something "should" be tagged. Market logic allows many distinct points of view to co-exist, because it allows individuals to preserve their point of view, even in the face of general disagreement.

So here he's taking the market as the model of an institution that permits independent, individualistic initiative, and yet somehow magically aggrogates it into something greater than the apparent sum of it's parts.

EricRaymond's TheCathedralAndBazaar too, is an explicit market model for software development.

See also :