In my second post, I talked about a Culture of Cooperation, where bottom up, networked forces were beginning to dominate the new world economy. So where does this confluence of natural cooperation lead us? I believe that the new technologies of the digital revolution are the enabling power for this culture of cooperation. And so all of the thinking that Adam Smith did and the Free Market fundamentalists preach, does not conform with the realities of the world that you're living in. We start with Moore's Law which put forth the notion that the processor speed of the computer would double every 24 months. In other words, you would get a computer twice as fast, twice as powerful for the same price every 24 months. This fact was a complete break with classical economic production models. As someone once said, if Moore's Law applied to the automobile I would be able to buy a Ferrari that went 300 MPH for $500. This means that the price of many things in the digital economy fall towards zero: whether it's the price of that little chip in your cell phone that takes the pictures or the price of calling from India to here so that Dell can put their customer call centers in India. All these things that are brought about by the digital economy make it faster and easier for people to do things cheaper and to build companies cheaper. But the explosion of the digital economy was brought about by a serious government investment in the mid sixties in the basic infrastructure of the Internet, then know as ARPANET. So much for the notion that the government is the enemy of business development.
But unless you think I'm a total optimist, I must tell you that the advances of the digital age are in danger. The notion that this Internet will stay totally open and free for such innovation is in question. The notion of Net Neutrality is something worth fighting for. Any time a big cable or telecom company tells you they built the Internet, you tell them that your tax dollars built the Open Internet and you expect it to stay open. Talk to Vint Cerf who thanks to a ARPA grant invented TCP/IP. Because if in the next three to four months Congress cedes control of the Internet to the five big cable and telecom companies that provide home Broadband, then this digital wonderland of choice would look much more like the old TV network ecology — in which a few people control who could speak? And that would be a terrible thing. Because there is this other revolution going on that depends upon an Open Internet. This open source revolution of Linux, Fire Fox, Apache, in which twenty-five thousand man years have been given for free to develop this code. Nobody got paid–in fact nobody wanted to get paid. It was a cooperative effort. Now that is astonishing. And it's not just astonishing because people went and did it. But that it actually developed software like Apache, which now has an almost 70 percent market share of web servers. Seventy percent of the whole Internet across the world is run on free software. So this is not just some little geek movement I'm talking about. This is the core of the new world economy.