The social goods of information networks: Complex equality and Wu's separation principles

David Michael Douglas


In his book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Tim Wu proposes a ‘Separation Principle’ that the control of communication infrastructure should be separated from control over the information transmitted across it. I suggest that the Separation Principle can be further justified by appealing to Michael Walzer’s concept of complex equality. In this analysis, the integrated control of communication infrastructure and control over who can use it is unjust as the influence of the infrastructure sphere is influencing the sphere of expression. This gives a further theoretical justification for Wu’s Separation Principle and for resisting the monopolisation of information networks.


Network Regulation; Distributive Justice; Information Networks; Internet Regulation

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