Information's Value

Patrick K. Morgan, Hope College


Information, an abstraction, is frequently lent certain aspects of the concrete. It is, for example, “measurable.” The picture drawn by hand and digitized has a byte “size.” “Value,” for its part, seems predicated on its manifestations in the market economy: there are information producers, consumers, and market(place)s. We find products, commodity language, prices, bargaining, and payment plans. There are intellectual property, copyright, and so on. These are real things. Clearly, as we’ve been told, information is a commodity - whether or not we personally believe it should be.

But why? What else is “it”? And how does who decide what it’s worth?