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The Art of Plagiarism

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By Jean-Pierre Brown

APMCP Year 15 Online

I would like submit an opinion often found too controversial or even too dangerous to openly express in a learning institution. A school is in many ways just like any other organization whose main source of revenue is found in the transactions of information economy. Today, the flow of information exchange is so rapidly accelerating and the common person's access to once privileged information is so greatly increasing, that the way we have for a long time delegated ownership of ideas to individual authors is succumbing an incredible transformation.

 For the sake of argument, I submit that conventions such as intellectual property and the demonizing persecution of plagiarists are outdated and counterproductive. I think that there is a new form of thinking and creating that is only still on the dawn of its full potential and that it is absolutely imperative that our learning centers learn to re-align themselves to better serve the needs of this new economy of idea production and desimination.

 I will draw attention to the era of meritocratic scholarship in ancient China as an example of communal core concept development. This was a period when the brightest academics realized that the amassed knowledge capital of an entire civilization was not measured by the quantity of knowledge, but the quality. The contributors to the reservoir of communal knowledge did not write with the idea of immortalizing their personal legacy. Instead they drew strength as a unified body by developing refined ideas that would benefit the entire society.

 In this new world of global perspectives, I believe that if we could once again reinvest our focus towards a communal production and refinement of ideas, we would surely see a powerful new form of idea development. This new form would be just as big of a paradigm shift for us, as the advent the printed text, when monks were relieved of the tedious task of transferring a body of knowledge by hand. This paradigm shift would take the form of a collective fusion of as many opinions as possible into one. This one unifying concept is then a carefully filtered and synthesized by academics and researchers. Imagine the benefits, if the leading thinkers of the world were not restrained by intellectual property laws and could openly share with each other. Their collaboration would surely be the best form of leadership we could endorse.

 Believing that two brains are better than one, I would also submit that an infinite number of contributors could only lead us to a form of thought that we have not yet realized. Consider the vast potential an individual now possesses to disseminate his or her ideas across digital frontiers through the Internet. Contemporary researchers have had to develop new skill sets in order effectively converge and consolidate the exponentially growing mass of published perspectives available online.

 I believe that everything has at one time been worded in one form or another I think that it is the role of the contemporary academic writer to reword and refine ideas so that they are more easily shared. More importantly, this argument I submit is the reason that I believe that contemporary learning institutions should not condemn, but encourage plagiarism among its students as an effective to way to generate centralized knowledge capital.

Jean-Pierre Brown