Apropos of nothing, I was thinking about Lessig’s Code 2.0 today, and was reminded just how useful one simple image is. It’s something anyone who thinks about public policy – and really social problems more broadly – should be familiar with:
Policy (law) is just one way to solve problems. Incentives (market) are another. Then there are norms and architecture. But as we shift online – and this is Lessig’s main point – architecture is something we have control of. Whereas in the physical world, architecture is constrained, in the digital world it is entirely shaped by us. As we seek to solve problems with technology, this image is worth bearing in mind.