Following the recent posts about open source and free I came across a recent posting by Michael Goldhaber.
Text of an interview with Michel Bauwens, conducted by email on March 30, 2006:
Interview with Michael Goldhaber on the Attention Economy
"1) My educational background is in theoretical particle physics. The threat of nuclear war and the Vietnam war both made me aware that scientists had a responsibility to understand the wider world in which their discoveries were being used and how, and to act for what they understand as the good of all. Aside from some direct political work, I began to be interested in how the history of science fitted into socio-cultural and economic history. By chance I decided to test my understanding with the relatively short history of microprocessors. This was around 1980, as the personal computer was just taking off, when there was much talk of the "paperless office" and so on.
If we were entering a "post-industrial" economy, I wondered what was motivating it. That led me to think in terms of an economy based on information rather than things. But that formulation continued to trouble me. Economies are supposedly organized around the allocation of what is scarce, but even then it was completely evident we were wallowing in information. It was far less scarce even than the super-abundant consumer goods of the old material economy. The need for more information just doesn't work as a motivating factor. I began to be aware that what is intrinsically scarce yet highly desired is attention. What is the point of putting forth information if it doesn't garner attention?
There were all sorts of things to learn to make sense of this, and that is why it has taken so long for me to develop the idea fully.
for the rest of the article see here
More information at http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_6/goldhaber/