The Death of Public Knowledge?

How Free Markets Destroy the General Intellect


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Edited by Aeron Davis

The Death of Public Knowledge? insists upon the value of shared, publicly accessible information, and suggests that the erosion of its most visible forms, including public service broadcasting, education and the network of public libraries, will have worrying outcomes for democracy.

Written by a mix of activists and academics, this collection of short, sharp essays records the strain placed on public knowledge by funding cuts and austerity, the new digital economy, vested interests, neoliberal politics, quantification and target-setting.

From an account of compromised Greek media during recent EU negotiations to the role played by media and political elites in the Irish property bubble, from the compromising of government policy by corporate interests in the US and Korea to the squeeze on public service media in the UK, New Zealand and America, the contributors assert that these pressures not only hinder democracies by restricting the free exchange of ideas, but undermine markets, economies and social institutions and spaces everywhere.

Individually and collectively these pieces offer a rallying cry, asserting the need for fervent financial and regulatory support, in order to protect public knowledge in all its forms.


Toril Aalberg, Ian Anstice, Philip Augar, Rodney Benson, Aeron Davis, Des Freedman, Wayne Hope, Ken Jones, Bong-hyun Lee, Colin Leys, Andrew McGettigan, Michael Moran, Aristotelis Nikolaidis, Justin Schlosberg, Henry Silke, Roger Smith, Peter Thompson, Janine R. Wedel, Karel Williams, Kate Wright

About the Editor

Aeron Davis is Professor of Political Communication and Codirector of the Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) at Goldsmiths, University of London.

About the PERC Series

PERC seeks to refresh political economy, in the original sense of the term, as a pluralist and critical approach to the study of capitalism. In doing so it challenges the sense of economics as a discipline, separate from the other social sciences, aiming instead to combine economic knowledge with various other disciplinary approaches. This is a response to recent critiques of orthodox economics, as immune to interdisciplinarity and cut off from historical and political events.  At the same time, the authority of economic experts and the relationship between academic research and the public (including, but not only, public policy-makers) are constant concerns running through PERC’s work.

For more information visit the PERC website.