The Clothesline Paradox

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a piece I read in Stuart Brand’s, CoEvolution Quarterlyback in 1975. It’s called the “Clothesline Paradox.” The author, Steve Baer, was talking about alternative energy. The thesis is simple: You put your clothes in the dryer, and the energy you use gets measured and counted. You hang your clothes on the clothesline, and it “disappears” from the economy. It struck me that there are a lot of things that we’re dealing with on the Internet that are subject to the Clothesline Paradox. Value is created, but it’s not measured and counted. It’s captured somewhere else in the economy. – The Edge

Tim O’Reilly on The Clothesline Paradox and the Sharing Economy / PICNIC Festival 2012 from PICNIC on Vimeo.

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