Chris “Long Tail” Anderson has an interesting guest post from Adam Gurri that discusses non-monetary economies, like the acting profession:
The thing about acting is that the labor force (actors) actually value the ability to do work in that field that they are willing to take on work for nothing and take on other jobs as a sort of cross-subsidy. There is a sort of demand for employment in theater, which makes competition among actors so fierce as to actually drive down wages (at time of entry at least) to zero or near zero.
His argument continues that many content-creation jobs (like blogging about your profession, for example) have such low overheads that they’re cutting the feet out from under journalists, who were paid to have the time to research topics they probably didn’t know much about to start with. There’s still ‘room at the top’ for good writers with deep knowledge (whether they started as journalists or experts), but the old career path from copyboy upwards seems to be gone for good.
Whether you see that as a good thing or a bad thing probably depends on what sort of work you do, but I think we can all agree it’s happening. The question is – after journalism, what will be the next to fall? And might the flow of money be supplemented by some sort of reputational currency, like whuffie?