Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lanier on getting paid in a networked world

Which leads nicely to Lanier’s final big point: that the value of these new companies comes from us. “Instagram isn’t worth a billion dollars just because those 13 employees are extraordinary,” he writes. “Instead, its value comes from the millions of users who contribute to the network without being paid for it.” He adds, “Networks need a great number of people to participate in them to generate significant value. But when they have them, only a small number of people get paid. This has the net effect of centralizing wealth and limiting overall economic growth.” Thus, in Lanier’s view, is income inequality also partly a consequence of the digital economy.


  1. I don't disagree with this, but is it different in nature from a landlord or property owner benefiting from increasing property values? These values go up because people construct better homes nearby, build parks and schools, open attractive businesses, etc. Lots of actions, large and small, contribute to increasing property values. The landlord can just wait and then raise the rent.

    On the other hand, I guess owning lots of real estate is often associated with income inequality as well.