Sivacracy links to a speech by Clay Shirky about “cognitive surplus” which epitomizes the problem with how people think about leisure. They think that the best way to understand leisure is through its generation of things that are useful. Indeed, the whole essay uses an economic metaphor “cognitive surplus” to describe what people have when they work 40 hours a week. Except that many people have such mind-numbing, alienating and miserable jobs that they do not arrive home, fresh from a satisfying day’s work and ready to write Wikipedia entries. Instead, they arrive home exhausted and depleted in one way or another, searching for meaning or value in life that they did not find during the majority of their waking hours that they just spent at work. That’s capitalism.
Also, the old saw about how television is passive and the web is active is a big yawner.
Check out Tiziana Terrnova on Free Labo(u)r instead for a critique of how the web economy works and a better take on how we might think about those people who do actually contribute to things like wikipedia, or for that matter, amazon.com reviews.