Government and gifts?

This week’s accord on Denmark’s national budget (explained in an animation here) reminded us that we are closing in on election time here in Denmark. The budget agreement included a good number of “gifts” to the public, especially to important electoral segments.

There is an interesting article about Gifting technologies by Kevin McGee and Jörgen Skågeby in First Monday. The conclusion:

… the research to date suggests that there are good reasons to begin looking at technology design “from the gifter’s perspective.” There seem to be fundamentally different technology needs and design problems that appear when a designer looks at the world from the perspective of someone who wants to gift — and to gift more easily, effectively, and meaningfully. To echo the beginning of this paper, it seems possible that even the creation of powerful, comprehensive, intuitive, and economically viable services for acquiring digital goods may not answer all the strong needs expressed in sharing phenomena. In fact, it may be that when the current legal and economic controversies surrounding file sharing have been resolved, powerful and intuitive mechanisms for gifting may be one of the ways that successful services and applications distinguish themselves. And the same could hold true for technology in general; perhaps gifting technologies can be for the benefit of all.

In his recent Hans Christian Andersen Academy lecture, professor Lawrence Lessig makes some good points, for examples that the architecture of the net is in principle based on a concept of Free Culture.

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