Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Economics Is About More Than Money

I’ve recently completed and posted an essay on linguistic binds in economics. The short version is that utility, a foundational concept in economics, is problematic. And it has helped to steer economics in a direction that is primarily concerned with the maximization of production and profit–a problematic goal in a world that is going to need a lot more sustainability.

One of the things that I am trying to dig at with this essay is that neoclassical economics has done a poor job of creating a model for economies that can deal with different sets of property rights and modes of distribution—models like open source software. Appropriately enough, I found a post at a post at gapingvoid that asks the seemingly innocuous question “Where are all the open source billionaires?” I also found a post by Coding Horror that provides a thoughtful and cogent rebuttal—a rebuttal that includes the idea that a lot of open source programmers are not entirely driven by a profit motive. This “programmer altruism” has been thoroughly dissected elsewhere; although I would still argue that these analyses are missing the point. There are some economies (and markets) that don’t deal with money—believe it or not. Especially where commodities are non-scarce; an idea in economics that has really yet to take hold.

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