>Yochai Benkler


I believe we are ready to break free of the selfishness mythand embrace human cooperation as the powerful and po-tentially positive force that it is. We as a society are in themidst of great disruptions in technology, business, ideology,and science. Ideas, trends, practices, and habits of mindtend to cohere over periods of time. When any relatively stable and coherent system—an economy, a country, or acommunity—suffers a shock, it leads to a new flexibility, anew openness to different ways of explaining our world andorganizing our lives. This is the way we come to reexam-ine old practices, try new ones, and adapt to the changeshappening around us. The economic collapse of 2008has forced all of us to come to terms with the fallibility of economic and financial systems built on self-interest. Thisdoesn’t mean we’re all about to become socialists (as someon the right might suggest). It simply means we shouldopen our minds to the possibility that the Invisible Handof the unregulated markets is a poor explanation of actualmarkets and actual human beings. It means that we shouldlook to ways we can harness cooperation and collaborationto improve the systems we inhabit, rather than stubbornly cling to impoverished descriptions of those systems.
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