Saving the net, one way and another and another
I spent much of Sunday afternoon with Gunther Sonnenfeld (@goonth) in Santa Monica, and am delighted to read and recommend his rumination that picks up our conversation and takes it a lot further.
Yesterday was spent crossing the continent, and lunchtime today I was in DC at the Aspen Institute for its launch of a benchmark report on keeping the internet free by continuing the model of multi–stakeholder governance – and keeping it out of the hands of the ITU (the global telecoms regulator run by reps of every nation). Here’s the report: aspeninstitute.org/idea.
It would be totally old economy to speak of bottom-up versus top-down approaches to saving, shaping, working with and within, the internet. But just as we need to cultivate a multi-stakeholder approach to governance (top-down but from, as it were, a bottom-driven top), so in our creative engagement with the net we should be driven by analogical approaches that do not seek to replicate the IRL/analog online but grasp its extraordinary promise to refashion the goods and services that address our wants and needs in a manner that increasingly transcends and re-states them.
It’s when national leaders and those who shape capital markets begin to grasp that point that the economic argument for the net’s freedom will take root. And, just perhaps, that the old argument that we need political freedom in order to have successful economic activity – an argument that China has shown to be naive, like so many western nostrums – will be seen to return in a new and altogether more sophisticated form.