The role of ‘free’ online labor

ssignment 3: Essay

Address one of the following topics. Make it clear what your argument is, and don’t forget to define key terms. Your argument must reference the role of ‘free’ online labour and draw on material from Module 1 and Module 2.
The goal of this assignment is for you to demonstrate your ability to analyse broad shifts in the economy linked to the Internet. Choose one of the following topics:

  1. “The Internet has centralised economic power.”
  2. “The Internet has facilitated the growth of alternative economic models that have the potential to radically change capitalism.”
  3. “The Internet has created a more just economy.”

This assignment is worth 40% of your marks for the unit. Please check your unit outline for the due date.

Undergraduate students should approximately 2,000 words. You can write up to 10% more than the word count without being penalised. If you’re more than 10% under the word count, it’s a sign that you’re not providing enough depth in your argument.

The essay topics are deliberately worded to allow a range of responses (including disagreeing with any of the statements), and you are encouraged to develop a response that integrates some of the more complex arguments and positions addressed in the curriculum materials as well as through the seminars/Discussion Board. Your learning in Module 2 will be most effective if you develop your ideas through discussion.

Whether or not you have written essays for another unit, it is worth working through this page on essay writing in order to make sure that your understanding of what this format entails matches our expectations.

Criteria for Assessment

You will be marked according to how well you:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the relationship between capitalism and the Internet;
  2. Draw effectively on relevant academic research, including theoretical concepts and empirical data;
  3. Present a developed and well-structured argument;
  4. Effectively communicate in the essay format;
  5. Support and connect your statements with appropriate examples, the role of free online labour, and relevant concepts from Modules 1 and 2.

All your work needs to indicate clearly, using APA-format referencing, whenever another source is being used. This includes: using the wording of another person, paraphrasing or drawing on information and ideas from another source (even if reworded). Also review the unit outline regarding university policies around assessment.

Materials from from module 1 and 2:

· Nardi, B. (2015). Inequality and limits. First Monday, 20(8). Retrieved from

· Ampuja, M. (2016). The New Spirit of Capitalism, Innovation Fetishism and New Information and Communication Technologies. Javnost: The Public, 23(1), 19–36.

· Veale, K. (2003). Internet gift economies: voluntary payment schemes as tangible reciprocity. First Monday, 8(12). Available:

· Ghosh R.A. (2005). Cooking pot markets: an economic model for the trade in free goods and services on the Internet. First Monday, first published in 1998 and republished in special issue #3. Available:

· Baldwin, J. (2018). In digital we trust: Bitcoin discourse, digital currencies, and decentralized network fetishism. Palgrave Communications, 4(1), 14.

· Sun, E., McLachlan, R., & Naaman, M. (2017). TAMIES: A Study and Model of Adoption in P2P Resource Sharing and Indirect Exchange Systems. In CSCW (pp. 2385-2396). Available:

· Geiger, A., Horbel, C., & Germelmann, C. C. (2018). “Give and take”: how notions of sharing and context determine free peer-to-peer accommodation decisions. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 35(1), 5–15.

· Freedman, D. (2016). The internet of capital: concentration and commodification in a world of abundance. In J. Curran, N. Fenton, & D. Freedman (Eds.), Misunderstanding the Internet (pp. 85–116). London: Routledge.

· Siemens, L. (2009). ‘It’s a team if you use “reply all” ‘: An exploration of research teams in digital humanities environments. Lit Linguist Computing, fqp009. doi: 10.1093/llc/fqp009.

· Kelly, K. (1997, September). New Rules for the New Economy: Twelve Dependable Principles for Thriving in a Turbulent World. Wired, 5(9). Available: com/wired/archive/5.09/newrules_pr.html”>

· Srnicek, N. (2017). The challenges of platform capitalism: Understanding the logic of a new business model. Juncture, 23(4), 254–257.

· Goldhaber, M.H. (1997). The Attention Economy and the Net. First Monday, 2(4-7). Available: org/article/view/519/440“>

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