Infosocialism

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Description

Rick Falkvinge, founder and leader of the Swedish Pirate Party:


"There's a superb hard science game called Transhuman Space that is probably one of the most believable views of what Earth may be 100 years from now I've ever read. In that game setting, there's a revolution in several Asian countries and a political philosophy called Infosocialism emerges. The basic tenet of Infosocialism is that idea and culture cannot be owned by individuals, they must be owned by the state and shared freely among the citizens. I'm increasingly wondering if this is not the general direction in which we're headed. Then again that's what good sci-fi is about: making you wonder and ponder..." (cited in the Arch-Econ mailing list, January 2008)


Excerpt

From the game:

"Nanosocialism This was a political philosophy developed (under the name "information socialism") by the Australian academic Kyle Porters in 2034. Originally from the left-anarchist tradition, Porters felt that the vision of a pure anarchosocialist society was unrealistic. Nevertheless, he observed that although modern civlization was utterly dependent on information technologies, the central notion of "intellectual property" often gave rise to significant injustice. He believed that only the state could properly reward innovation, while still distributing the benefits of such innovations fairly to all. Infosocialism thus began with the premise that "information needs to be free", but redefined freedom as the nationalization of intellectuel property and its free distribution by the state. Thus the government does not allow patents, but subsidizes research and creative endeavor. This is less absurd when one imagines a "university" rather than "corporate" model of research and development.

Infosocialist doctrine failed to take hold in the hyper-developed nations and instead took root in less-developed nations, many of whom felt they were being exploited by wealthier corporations' locks on major genetic patents, nanotechnology designs, and software systems. Infosocialism - later known as nanosocialism - gained power in Peru, Indonesia and Thailand.

One of the policies of nanosocialism was an end to the enforcement of international copyright agreement and trademarks. The sanctions that resulted provoked a backlash, and helped weld nanosocialist countries into a tighter (and increasingly paranoid) bloc. This culminated in the Pacific War and the overthrow of nanosocialist governments in Vietnam and Thailand.

Despite that reverse, nanosocialism remains an important factor in world politics. There are infosocialist or nanosocialist parties and sympathisers in most nations. Although Thailand was forcibly separated in the aftermath of the Pacific War, nanosocialist strength is growing in South America and in India. At present, the situation is one of "cold war". The issues that led to the Pacific War have not yet been resolved. Meanwhile, the world has seen its first outbreak of total war since 1945 - and most nations have become uncomfortably aware of how vulnerable they are to the destructive potential of the Fifth Wave." (From the role-playing game Transhuman Space at http://www.amazon.com/Transhuman-Space-HC/dp/1556344546/planetharmonica, by David Pulver)