Michael Goldhaber

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Michael Goldhaber writes about the Attention Economy


Michael H. Goldhaber is a writer and consultant living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. He originated the concept of the Attention Economy in the mid–eighties and has since worked to better understand what is at stake. This is part of a larger framework of trying to understand how the human species and its apparent reality are constantly modified and changed by human actions and predilections that somehow connect with biologically evolved propensities.

More details:

"My professional education was as a theoretical physicist. This was during the Vietnam war, and I became increasingly uneasy with the connection of science and arms. In ’68 I was one of the founders of what became “Science for the People” which was quite active through the ‘70’s, but now has a ghostly presence only as a small listserv (which I moderate). I couldn’t square my work in physics with my political views and eventually decided to leave the field.

In the late ‘70’s I was mostly doing abstract painting and teaching at a small socialist school in Oakland. I spent most of the 80’s at IPS in Washington, DC, where I worked on technology policy and on ways of recasting science to be more open to non-experts. (I can’t say that second program really crystallized.) Relevant to things said on this list, I wrote “Microcomputer Networks: a New Workers’ Culture in Formation”,(Chap. 10 of The Critical Communications Review, Volume I, Vincent Mosco and Janet Wasko, eds.) in which I discussed how such a network might help revitalize labor unions. Also a book “Reinventing Technology:Policies for Democratic Values” ( Routledge ‘86) which takes the view that technological decisions have the force of law and so should should be decided democratically, and I sketched out how that could be done. I had already published “Politics and Technology: Microprocessors and the Prospect of a New Industrial Revolution” (Socialist Review, 52, 1980) , which led me to explore the “information economy.” Out of that work developed my theory that it should really be viewed as an attention economy. For a while I published a sort of zine called “Post-industrial Issues”. I continue to develop the attention economy theory on my blog goldhaber.org. Other recent work can mostly be found online.

I live in Oakland, Ca., am writing a novel , and somewhat involved in local progressive Democratic politics." (IDC mailing list June 2009)


Web: http://www.goldhaber.org

E–mail: michael [at] goldhaber [dot] org

More Information

The value of openness in an attention economy by Michael Goldhaber http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_6/goldhaber/

See also “The mentality of Homo interneticus: Some Ongian postulates (First Monday, volume 9, number 6 (June 2004), at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_6/goldhaber/) and also Reinventing technology: Policies for democratic values (Boston: Routlege & Kegan Paul, 1986). His Ph.D. is in theoretical physics.