Innovations is a relatively new journal from MIT Press edited by Philip E. Auerswald and Iqbal Z. Quadir, and it focuses on technology and governance (two frequent topics here), with a specific focus on their policy implications. A regular component of the periodical is the presentation of cases by innovators themselves, accompanied by critical commentaries. The latest issue includes a case study of Second Life by our own Cory Ondrejka, with commentaries by Philip Evans of The Boston Consulting Group, Paul R. Verkuil of the Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, and, well, me. A bit more below the fold; dig in and comment, if you like.
Cory's argument in a nutshell (and it really is more an argument than a presentation of a case): He provocatively argues that SL effectively eliminates geographic constraints from creative action, and then points to ways that this heralds vast transformations, through virtual worlds, in the nature of sovereignty and citizenship writ large. All three of the critical commentaries, in my opinion, push back to a certain degree on these ideas, with Evans interrogating what we mean by geography's costs and what its advantageous may nonetheless be, and Verkuil (who has written extensively on sovereignty) asking some penetrating questions about what Linden Lab's degree of control over SL means for its (and other virtual world makers') potential regulation. My comment probably attempts to throw the most cold water on the prospects Cory outlines. Enjoy!
(NB: MIT Press is making the entire issue available for free via pdf downloads at the link above, and they've told the authors that we're free to post and distribute without worry. Nice.)