Is the web a battleground of creeping socialism? Yes - and that's why it works

Commentators love to argue over whether President Obama's bailout represents the end of capitalism and the rise of an American socialist state. But they're missing a broader, more important discussion. As I suggested earlier, the economic distress of 2008 and 2009 does not presage a pinko American revolution, but America is clearly entering an age of shared means of production, shared work, and shared rewards. The strangest thing about this transformation is that a majority of Americans -- including you -- are taking part in it.

In the June edition of Wired, Kevin Kelly argues that Web 2.0 has effectively created a highly functional online socialist world. On a base level, this starts with shared resources. Whether photographs on sites like Facebook, videos on YouTube, or text on thousands of blogs, internet users are enjoying almost unrestricted access to the raw materials of creation. And even as sites like Creative Commons protect the legal rights of creators, they also make free media available to millions.