In The Danger of Commodifying Knowledge, Alex Nolting discusses the mechanism of debt, and how it is increasingly important as “social control” in neoliberal capitalism. The article specifically focuses on student debt, noting the irony that “if we want to be liberated by knowledge, we must indebt ourselves (and our families) at extremely high rates for the rest of our lives.”
In Instant Messaging and Social Media as Commodifying Communication, Drew Vandergriend examines the downside of 21st-century communication technology, and how consumer products such as cell phones have become indispensible in daily lives,a nd inaccessible to thos ewho cannot afford it. The article implicates the new technologies in destructive mineral extraction and war in the Congo, and gentrification in North American cities.
In Common Knowledge: Free Software and Copyleft, Joseph Thayer studies the trend of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), and the larger issues of modifying source code in the digital “commons.” The article distinguishes between proponents of free software and open-source software.
In West Coast Gun Regulations Without Representation, Kellin Kahl focuses on the intensifying debate over gun ownership, as an example of a commodity (guns) driving political action. The article looks at the polarization over gun rights in the 2016 election, but also finds potential common ground in background checks and curbing the stigma around mental health.