I stumbled onto some pretty interesting readings this week, but not where I expected to. For another class I was looking for references to support an argument about the enclosure of 15th century Britain and I stumbled across an article titled “Ubiquitous Computing and the Digital Enclosure Movement” by Mark Andrejevic.
Basically, all you need to know about the enclosure movement is that sections of land, previously known as ‘commons’, were slowly but surely enclosed and restricted by the wealthy to allow them to comodify land either through rent systems, grazing and the like. Now, unfortunately, this removed a whole bunch of peeps that lived via subsistence agriculture and, long story short, you have wage labour and a key tenet of capitalism. Not to give away the ending of the article, but Andrejevic links the enclosure or restriction of cyber space to a commodification of information.
Now, the thing about land enclosure was that not only was land already occupied, but if you want to get kinda Marxist, the enclosure of it was an expropriation of that which belonged to everybody. With this in mind, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a similar expropriation happening in the near future to our beloved internet. The internet is a public asset, and hopefully it will not be seized by those who wish to own it themselves.