Under the circumstances, I think it may prove very difficult for commerce-oriented enterprises to succeed over the long term. Someplace like a dry cleaner is able to make money because it doesn’t need to worry about being undercut by competitors who aren’t trying to earn a profit. If for some reason Bill Gates decided to pour $5 billion into a foundation dedicated to offering not-for-profit dry cleaning services to Washington, DC then the existing dry cleaners would be in huge trouble. They don’t have that problem because nobody wants to run non-profit dry cleaners. But lots of people want to write about political issues for reasons that have nothing to do with profit-maximization. And my sense is that organizations are increasingly doing this. CAP/AF was a think tank early adopter in terms of building robust in-house new media capacity, but to the best of my knowledge just about every think tank and advocacy shop in town would like to get in on the action. And ultimately, a proliferation of content that’s not supposed to make money is going to make it even harder than it already is for those trying to make profits to do so.
(via Jay Rosen)
See also: Kevin Kelly’s article The New Socialism.