The End of Scarcity: Why Sharing Grew Epic


For most of civilization,  there were physical costs to making copies of products to sell. Food. Household items. Entertainment. The basics of economics arose around making rational choices about what to do and what to leave behind.  Factories were the first part of all this. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, machines could churn out thousands of copies of something in a day. When economies change, there are always wrenching adjustments.


Then with outsourcing, even the American factories were no longer needed. Industries such as textiles, once a powerhouse of the 19th century economy, exist domesticallyin America today only by filling niche needs that are not interesting to the big conglomerates.


The most of the 20th century dealt with conglomerates and economies of scale, the rise of malls and better transportation. Yet even then there were choices to be made, break-even points to be examined.


Then along came the internet.


What resulted, after some infrastructure and broadband, was that there were *no longer* any decisions to make whether it cost too much to copy something. Napster sounded the clarion call of the new future, and ever since the media lobbies worked the legal landscape to punish copying as aggressively as possible.


Several trends were inaugurated by that.  One was that internet users began to see low level commodities such as pictures, code snips, and more controversially, even videos and songs, as "costing nothing to copy", thus making these two generations among the most media savvy groups of youth out there.