Chris Anderson knows a thing or two about self-promotion. His first book, The Long Tail, caused a stir three years ago in its suggestion that the internet was creating a golden age for niche retailers. His latest work, Free: the Future of a Radical Price (which like The Long Tail began as a Wired article and was developed on Anderson’s blog) makes an equally sweeping claim – to plug the gap in economic thought that arises from the disappearance of prices.
However, in a review in the new August edition of Prospect, William Davies suggests that the answers Anderson provides to this problem are really little more than an extension of already existing economic models, such as Moore’s law (which predicted in 1965 that the cost of computer processing would halve every two years). Davies also crticises Anderson for being enthralled to Google, Free sometimes feeling “less like a glimpse of the future than a reverential analysis of a business model dreamt up 15 years ago”.
Still, Davies acknowledges that Anderson does have a point, if also a repetitive and slightly disingenuous way of making it. What does Free mean for the Rupert Murdochs of this world? Let us know your thoughts below.