Freedom or Copyright? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Alex Hudson home at
Fri Feb 8 19:43:41 UTC 2008

On Fri, 2008-02-08 at 20:37 +0100, Matthias-Christian Ott wrote:
> Alex Hudson <home at> wrote:
> > That honestly sounds like a very elitist view of "culture". I don't see
> > why that "culture industry" needs to be fought against, some of the
> > finest works have come out of commercial ventures.
> It's not an elitist view of "culture" - it's the direct opposite. The
> current "mode of production" of culture is very elitist and there's no
> diversity. This diversity doesn't only refer to people, but also to
> content, style etc.

I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with that mode of production -
clearly there are many things wrong with it. But I disagree about the
diversity, and I disagree with needing to "fight" against it. It's like
complaining about McDonald's, it may not fit your idea of cuisine, but
it doesn't stop you opening up your own restaurant.

Arguably, mankind has never produced as much cultural output as it
currently does now, and I would wager it's much more diverse than any
time period previously. 

> Richard Stallman also outlined a tax based system in his talks. But
> I don't see a problem in such a gift economy, except that it requires
> some kind of emancipation, because people have to voluntarily donate and
> have to give up this trading paradigm of the direct exchange of money
> and commodity.
> Donating money works fine for Free Software projects - so why shouldn't
> it work for "culture"?

Again, I have no problem with a gift economy, except for the suggestion
that it should be "the way" rather than "a way". There are substantial
problems with gift economies which many academics have written about:
there's nothing wrong with making money that way, but it's no perfect



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