- a project.
A final example of an actually existing real utopia is the new forms of peer-to-peer collaborative production that have emerged in the digital era. Perhaps the most familiar example is Wikipedia. Within a decade of its founding, Wikipedia destroyed a three-hundred-year-old market in encyclopedias; it is now impossible to produce a commercially viable, general purpose encyclopedia. Wikipedia is produced in a completely noncapitalist way by a few hundred thousand unpaid editors around the world contributing to the global commons and making it freely available to everybody. It is funded through a kind of gift economy that provides the necessary infrastructural resources. Wikipedia is filled with problems — some entries are wonderful, others terrible — but it is an extraordinary example of cooperation and collaboration on a very large scale that is highly productive and organized on a noncapitalist basis.
I think I have a Wikipedia addiction.
Ever since I was a kid I loved picking up encyclopedias and just browsing, but Wikipedia has allowed me to take this to a whole new level. I've always been a curious person, and I've always sort of had lots of interests without seeming able or willing to go deep into them. Idle browsing of Wikipedia kind of suits me perfectly.
I wonder to what extent this has been counter-productive; it's so much easier to read the article in Wikipedia on some subject instead of going deeper (and, say, studying the subject with some degree of seriousness). Ideally reading the Wikipedia article would be the first step towards more reading on the subject, and I guess sometimes it is. But it seems like perhaps I've missed out on learning more about some subjects just because reading the Wikipedia article gives me such a "kick".
In any case, I enjoy knowing random bits of information about many subjects, so it's not all bad. I may just try to keep written down notes on topics that I find interesting so I can go deeper into topics that I go back to more often.