Tuesday, 6 July 2010

We Don't Work for Money

Above video courtesy of The RSA

The Open Source movement is evidence that money is a poor way to motivate humans in an information based economy. Open Source software is software that has been produced by programmers and developers for free in their spare time. They then allow others to modify this freely. Open Source software is illegal to sell and drives much of the world of computing. The largest projects have hundreds of contributors and organisational structures.

As we advance away from having to provide our own physical labour our economic model must change. People are doing similar work as they do at work but in their spare time for free.


Dan @ Eyes on Power said...

Interesting idea Pete, but I don't think it's just limited to an information based economy. Just look at the charity sector or museum sector which all rely on volunteers to survive. Many people give up their time for worthwhile causes - whether it's to help others or pursue personal sources of interest.

Dan @ Eyes on Power said...

There's an interesting extract from Nassim Nicholas Taleb's new book in the New Statesman where he argues that someone making an "incentive" bonus shouldn't "manage a nuclear plant - or your financial risk". It expands on Harvey's argument in the video that incentives aren't incentivising by arguing that incentives are unproductive and inefficient because they lead to cost cutting (often at the risk of health & safety) to secure profits. It creates long-term structural weaknesses.

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