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The Noosphere Gazette: On Peter B. Kaufman’s “The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge”

Peter B. Kaufman’s rigorous and eloquent new book, The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, traces the history of this dream of open access to knowledge. It “begins with torture and ends with a vision of another violent civil war. There’s some gun violence, some beheadings, tanks rolling over people, something for everyone.” A recurring problem is the concentration of power. “Archive,” as Kaufman points out, derives from “rule” or “govern,” in the “archon,” the seat of power. Governance and trading require knowledge, so in that sense all economies have been information economies, with all the associated pitfalls. Thus, release of closely guarded information into the public commons is a source of mortal danger to those in power. Read more

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