Yochai Benkler has been called "the leading intellectual of the information age." He proposes that volunteer-based projects such as Wikipedia and Linux are the next stage of human organization and economic production.

Why you should listen

Larry Lessig calls law professor Yochai Benkler "the leading intellectual of the information age." He studies the commons -- including such shareable spaces as the radio spectrum, as well as our shared bodies of knowledge and how we access and change them.

His most recent writings (such as his 2006 book The Wealth of Networks) discuss the effects of net-based information production on our lives and minds and laws. He has gained admirers far beyond the academy, so much so that when he released his book online with a Creative Commons license, it was mixed and remixed online by fans. (Texts can be found at benkler.org; and check out this web-based seminar on The Wealth of Networks.) He was awarded EFF's Pioneer Award in 2007.

He's the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society (home to many of TED's favorite people).

What others say

“He has become an unlikely business guru, with a shop at the intersection of Commerce and Cooperation.” — Time

Yochai Benkler’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Yochai Benkler

Whither Web 2.0?

October 22, 2008

Via Slashdot, blogger Andrew Keen writes that economic troubles will trigger the decline of the “free” economy, collaboration, and open-source — including communities such as Wikipedia — and even, perhaps, the blogosphere itself. People will be less likely to give away “their intellectual labor on the Internet in the speculative hope that they might get […]

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Open-source economics: Yochai Benkler on TED.com

April 16, 2008

Law professor Yochai Benkler explains how collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux represent the next stage of human organization. By disrupting traditional economic production, copyright law and established competition, they’re paving the way for a new set of economic laws, where empowered individuals are put on a level playing field with industry giants. (Recorded July […]

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