Just flew to Barcelona (next stop Lisbon, then PopTech in Maine) and on the plane I had a chance to read Larry Lessig's terrific new book, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. I think of it as something of the closer to his Creative Commons trilogy, which started with Free Culture and the The Future of Ideas. As such, it's a capper to his decade of thinking and experimenting with ways to liberate human creativity from the dead hand of one-size-fits-all intellectual property law. It's an important book, just like his famously entertaining speeches, and a quick read that can be finished in an evening.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Remix:
On the two economies, "commercial" and "sharing", and why money changes everything:
It would be very odd if a friend apologized for missing lunch and offered you $50 to make it up. And it would very, very odd if your girlfriend, at the end of a great date, offered you $500 to spend the night. Or if Wal-Mart asked all customers to 'pitch in and help Wal-Mart by sweeping at least one aisle each time you shop'. Or if McDonalds asked you to 'help out' by promising to buy hamburgers at least once a month. Money in the sharing economy is not just inappropriate; it is poisonous. And 'helping out' is not just rare in the commercial economy. It is downright weird."
On the natural coexistence of monetary and non-monetary economies:
No one is called a communist because he plays in a Thursday-evening softball league (competing with professional baseball) or helps clean up the local church (competing with the janitor of the church).
On how free things can sometimes be seen as superior:
For all of Wikipedia's flaws, the one thing people don't say is, 'Well, I don't trust Wikipedia because it's basically all advertising fluff.' Forgoing ads is a way to buy credibility, just as a judge forgoing bribes is a way to buy credibility.