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Anti-rival good

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anti-rival good” is a neologism suggested by Steven Weber. According to his definition, it is the opposite of a rival good. When more people share an anti-rival good, the more utility each person receives. Examples include software and other information goods created through the process of commons-based peer production.

An anti-rival good meets the test of a public good because it is non-excludable (freely available to all) and non-rival (consumption by one person does not reduce the amount available for others). However, it has the additional quality of being created by private individuals for common benefit without being motivated by pure altruism, because the individual contributor also receives benefits from the contributions of others.

An example is provided by Lawrence Lessig: "It's not just that code is non-rival; it's that code in particular, and (at least some) knowledge in general, is, as Weber calls it, 'anti-rival'. I am not only not harmed when you share an anti-rival good: I benefit."[1]

The production of anti-rival goods typically benefits from network effects. Leung (2006)[2] quotes from Weber (2004), "Under conditions of anti-rivalness, as the size of the Internet-connected group increases, and there is a heterogeneous distribution of motivations with people who have a high level of interest and some resources to invest, then the large group is more likely, all things being equal, to provide the good than is a small group."[3]

Although this term is a neologism, this category of goods may be neither new nor specific to the Internet era. According to Lessig, English also meets the criteria, as any natural language is an anti-rival good.[4] The term also invokes reciprocity and the concept of a gift economy.

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See also


  1. ^ Lessig, L. "Do You Floss?". London Review of Books. Archived from the original on 10 December 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  2. ^ Leung, T. "(Review) The Success of Open Source". Sauria Associates. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
  3. ^ Weber, S. (2004), The Success of Open Source, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0-674-01292-9
  4. ^ Lessig, L. "Do You Floss?". London Review of Books. Archived from the original on 10 December 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
This page was last edited on 12 September 2019, at 01:35
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