In high school, especially in subjects like Modern History and Society and Culture, teachers kept trying to explain to me what terms like wealth, finance, economy, and worth meant in a global setting. I struggled to grasp how the Global Financial Crisis actually happened and how the repercussions radiated throughout the global market. While I could see the consequences I couldn’t understand the source. That’s why I am doing Communication and Media Studies; not Commerce.
I understand, in theory, the concept of wealth; but I still think of it as a physical resource. When you are a child you know your wealth because you can count your coins in your piggy bank. I guess I still think like that. In the bank, for me, there is a goblin watching my safe containing my money and I need to bring in my key(card) to access it.
I may have seen Harry Potter to many times, but the point still stands: in today’s technocentric society resources no longer have to be physical to be significant.
“In Third Wave Economy, the central resource — a single word encompassing data, information, images, symbols, culture, ideology, and values — is actionable knowledge.” – Dyson, Gilder, Keysworth and Toffler 1994
Dyson, Gilder, Keysworth and Toffler say that oil, steel and auto-production are the last physical resources, the last sectors of industrialisation that maintain economic value, only because they have learnt to benefit from the “Third Wave economy” and the Age of the Internet. They have a place supporting the explosive growth of cyberspace.
Just as Barlow adieux the “weary giants of flesh and steel” in The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace we must farewell the limitations of our understandings of ‘resources’. We must extend our understanding beyond the complexities of national wealth to a point where we individually, socially and legally understand the potential value in knowledge.
“Concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is not matter [in cyberspace].” – Barlow 1996