Global Authorship: The Next Struggle

Movable Type

Literacy as Freedom was the slogan of the United Nations Literacy Decade. Literacy, key to good health and well-being said the posters advertising the UNESCO-sponsored International Literacy Day.

For as long as many of us have been alive, the fight for universal literacy has been prominent among politicians, non-profits and philanthropic international organisations—and this fight has accomplished a lot. Estimates suggest that by 2015 world illiteracy will stand at a meagre 16% of the world’s population and this is set to decline still more.

This battle against illiteracy has been a “defining characteristic of today’s modern civilisation”, says Denis Pelli (professor of psychology and neural science at New York University) and Charles Bigelow (Carey Distinguished Professor and MacArthur Foundation prize fellow), so what will define tomorrow’s? What will be the next global struggle? Authorship, suggests Pelli and Bigelow in a recent article for Seed Magazine where the two look at some of the surprising statistics to do with authorship on- and offline.

World Authorship Rates

With authorship estimated to reach 1% of world population by next year and nearly 10% the year after, the question isn’t so much Will this be the next cause célèbre? as What will this mean?

As the 90-9-1 principle (aka the 1% rule) of participation inequality begins to reverse and more people become creators rather than consumers, so the flow of information will escalate and become more transparent. As more individuals publish, tacmeds so the individual becomes influential; as does the group.

My question is, What does this mean for democracy, privacy and activism?

Movable type photograph by Xosé Castro.
Media authorship graph copyright Seed Media Group LLC.

Lloyd Morgan

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Thanks mainly to Wikipedia, Lloyd Morgan is a man with a mind full of random (and only occasionally useful) knowledge. Anthropology and cognitive neuropsychology are his two great interests—which means that he's interested in almost anything. Lloyd is a cat lover, prefers red wine, and is impartial to the Oxford comma. (He doesn't do much at, but does write often at