I found the post Putting the creativity back in creative capitalism particularly interesting to the development of the metaverse. In my last post I wrote about a comment from Dusan Writer, where he expressed worry that much of what is great about the metaverse is being twisted for corporations. He echoed that feeling in his post – Small Worlds, Small Minds: How Brands Have Sucker-Punched Virtual Worlds.
The brand agenda has siphoned talent from the metaverse to create the equivalent of commercial candy, throwing a sucker punch at the idea of virtual worlds without even knowing it’s doing it.
I pretty much agree with Dusan but also feel that corporations have their place. Then I read about the paper the post is built upon.
In the economy of the 21st century, economic and technical innovation is increasingly based on developments that don’t rely on economic incentive or public provision. Unlike 20th century innovation, the most important developments in innovation have been driven not by research funded by governments or developed by corporations but by the collaborative interactions of individuals. In most cases, this modality of innovation has not been motivated by economic concerns or the prospect of profit. This raises the possibility of a world in which some of the sectors of the economy particularly the ones dealing with innovation and creativity are driven by social interactions of various kinds, rather than by profit-oriented investment.
This makes you think, have corporations really done that much for us? Could we do just as well without them? Then I realize those are the wrong questions. Or more correctly, I as an individual and enthusiast of the metaverse am the wrong audience. The authors hold up the internet economy as an example.
The dominant driver of the Internet economy is not profit-seeking innovation but individual and collective creativity. Creativity is, and always has been, driven by a wide range of motives, some altruistic and others, like the desire to display superior skill, rather less so. Trying to tie all of these motives to direct monetary rewards is futile and, if pushed too far, counterproductive.
The key is in the last sentence, this is meant more as a warning to businesses than users, developers, and fanatics. Businesses shouldn’t worry so much about profiting off every little thing but rather work with the real innovators – the users, the little people, weekend warriors, etc.