One of the best things about the world-wide web is, well, that it really is a web. On the Cooperation Commons blog Howard Rheingold posted a summary of Irving Wladawsky-Berger's comments on the economic and social interdependency between collaboration and innovation. There are good reasons to think that these two are intimately related, and that innovation doesn't happen by itself. My experience is that, no matter how much I want to believe that I'm independently capable of creating things, I always learning how much my simplest needs, like potable tap water, depend on a vast network of other people. My ability to write this blog post is the result of many experiences with many people over many years. It's kind of hard to get away from the fact that we are all collaborating even when we're not always cooperating.
But back to the webby-ness. A comment on Howard Rheingold's post by Kevin Jones leads me to a post on and Environmental Economics that reviews a recent Wall Street Journal article, "For People and Planet", by Al Gore and David Blood (subscription req'd) exploring the ways that capitalism and sustainability are deeply and increasingly interrelated.
And this theme leads me to, once again, recommend The Commonwealth of Life: A Treatise on Stewardship Economics, by Peter G. Brown, a book reviewed by Dave Pollard and also here. [Dave Pollard's review contains information on finding the book.] I have to agree with Dave that I cannot understand how this concise and clearly argued book about how to find the middle way between exploitation and conservation fails to be cited more. Maybe this post can help change that.
But that's what the web is about, and what makes it a web. A blog post elicits a comment that links to a blog that links to a blog that links to a newspaper article that reminds me of a book and I write a blog post containing other links. It's a bit amazing that building such a web is so easy. But maybe we're building more than a web, maybe we're building a safety net for ideas. What do you think?