From the Conclusion

. . . the hacker ethic does not add up to a coherent set of principles for organizing software production, and it was folly to believe those who claimed in the 1990s that the internet had changed the laws of economics. Yet there would be no President Obama without the internet,3 the parameters of intellectual property in law and politics have changed dramatically since the beginnings of the open source movement in 1997, and the idea and practice of grassroots democracy have gained a new cogency in U.S. and global politics in association with the internet. The necessity of and problems with supporting private media with advertising have been more widely called into question than at any time since the 1960s. And the very idea of freedom has been distanced from property rights in new and significant ways, opening up possibilities in the United States that have not existed since the Progressive Era. No, this is not the revolution, and, yes, in the mid-1990s it was all harnessed to breathe new life into neoliberalism. Yet the internet has been at or near the center of some of the most significant set of ground shifts in American political practice since the Reagan revolution in 1980 and the dissident movements of the 1960s (which weren't the revolution either, but which did change the country in a variety of lasting ways).

This concluding chapter, then, explains how this could be so by summarizing the findings of the book and offers some observations about what the past decades can teach us about the relations between capitalism, technology, culture, and everyday life. It makes the case that the internet is open and disruptive, not because of anything inherent in the technology, but because historical circumstances allowed it to be narrated as open, because the stories that have become common ways of making sense of it have represented it as open, and in turn those stories have shaped the way it has been embraced and developed. The internet is potentially open because people have made it so, and there is a lesson in that simple fact.