freeconomics
n. The economics of giving away goods or services. Also: free-conomics.
freeconomic adj.

Example Citations:
Since an e-book can be short, you probably don't need a ghostwriter. If you do, ghostwriters like myself will do the job for anywhere from $5,000 [for 35 pages] to $9,000 [for 85 pages]. Having a traditional book ghostwritten could run from $20,000 to $60,000. Formatting it into a PDF is free. Copyrighting it through the Library of Congress [downloadable forms online] is $45. What about laying it out? That's not absolutely necessary since your audience is hungry for content, not beauty. But I advise clients to scout out a low-cost graphics pro to make the manuscript look professional.You're not asking anyone for anything. Most likely you will offer the e-book free. Actually, freeconomics is the way to go in this market. Provide something free and you are halfway there to hooking that fish.
—Jane Genova, "Hedge Legal Careers — Do a 35-page e-book," Law and More, March 30, 2008

As [Charles] Leadbetter writes in We-think: "The web's significance is that it makes sharing central to the dynamism of economies that have hitherto been built on private ownership. That is why the new organisational models being generated by the web are so unsettling for traditional corporations created in an industrial model of private ownership."

These corporations are particularly threatened by what Leadbetter calls "gift exchange", in which ideas and services are made freely available on the web — an exchange that catalyses freeconomics. "The web reconnects us," writes Leadbetter, "with a different story about the rise of the west: one that gives a central role to the way ideas are aired and shared rather than focusing on how land and buildings are locked down in private property."

How far can freeconomics go in subverting existing capitalistic models?
—Stuart Jeffries, "The big giveaway," The Guardian, May 6, 2008

Earliest Citation:
I begin my economics of abundance speech with Carver Mead's mind-bending question: "What happens when things get (nearly) free?" His answer is that you waste them, be they transistors or megabytes of bandwidth capacity. You use them profligately, extravagantly, irresponsibly. You shift out of conservation mode and get into exploitation mode. You do crazy things like offering people the ability to put their whole music collection in their pocket, or promising the average email user that they'll never have to delete another message to conserve space. ...

With apologies to Levitt and Dubner, I'll cheekily call the emerging realization that abundance is driving our world "freeconomics".
—Chris Anderson, "The rise of 'freeconomics'," The Long Tail, November 26, 2006

Related Words:

Categories: