Its interesting how one idea can create such profound change. Tapscott and Williams, in Wikinomics, discuss N-Geners as prosumers. File sharing accounts for half the internet traffic they say (I’ll bet most of that is porn, but that is another issue), and this is “signalling that the Net Generation is renegotiating the definitions of copyright and intellectual property.” (52)
N-Gener? I think I gave birth to a couple of those. While I educated them about how stealing is bad, and hitting is bad, and how to respect women (they’re men), and how to be strong and kind all at the same time, they still had no difficulty downloading stuff from the Internet. Games, codes, movies, music, hacking, it is all fair as far as they are concerned. Stealing from the store is never considered, but copying bytes, no problem. As Cory Doctorow points out, “computers copy, that’s what they do.”
Change is not only inevitable, but I for one welcome it. (I wouldn’t go so far as to say that one period in history is better than any other, because I think each has it’s own set of challenges, ideologies, pros and cons. Just like the one, we are in now.) I like the whole idea of renegotiating meaning. I am sure that some disagree, but I like that the meaning behind the concept of wife, has changed a bit over the last century. Stagnant water just gets, well, stagnant and undrinkable.
It is painful though, and it has never been without pain. Just one example from the multitudes is the pain that came for the early 19th century handloom weavers. Weavers were unable to support their families as textile manufacturing moved to factories, driving down their profits. I’ll bet that even today most of us cannot afford to pay for hand woven blankets, and the deal at the department store fits into our budget better.
And how about living without all those cheap factory made goods?