The Crossroads of knowledge and financialization

Satık, Erdoğdu
This thesis questions the connection between knowledge and finance and advances an account that links both in a two-folded way. The first level departs from what separates the two opposite views or alternative explanations about the value of knowledge. The source and essence of the extra profits in information goods or commodities, such as digital media contents and software, featuring increasing returns to scale owing to their peculiar cost structure manifested by a high fixed cost and very low constant marginal cost, is what separates the two views about the value of knowledge. In light of the near-decomposability/modularity hypothesis, the extra profits in information commodities should arise from 'information hiding,' which is intrinsic to nearly-decomposable systems or modular architecture because they are built on an ignorance on the parts in regard to the other parts and the whole of system. Such (hidden) design information that gives rise to parts or modules creates, at the same time, the future paths of action or (real) options, according to real-options perspective. When the two perspectives are combined, knowledge production, as distinct from subsequent knowledge commodity production, basically becomes an option creation process. Then, it becomes possible to argue that the concurrence of knowledge and finance is not a coincidence at all because the logics of accumulation is no different but almost identical, which is the second level of the two-folded account attempted in this study. The main contribution of this thesis is to build an account that links financialization to knowledge via the notion of modularity. Such an account sees financialization as a reflection and consequence of a value-driven permanent innovation economy developed under the 'IT paradigm' in order to exploit a surplus peculiar and intrinsic to the modular structure that makes 'information hiding' an integral part of such architectures since they are by definition built on an ignorance on the parts in regard to the other parts and the whole of system.