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Think Tank Demos Says Open Source Should Be Encouraged
Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 09:04 AM EST

Think tank Demos has a report released today, "The Pro-Am Revolution, How enthusiasts are changing our economy and society," in which they say that while the 20th Century was "shaped by the rise of professionals", the 21st is seeing a new breed of amateurs emerge, which it calls Pro-Ams:

". . . in the last two decades a new breed of amateur has emerged: the Pro-Am, amateurs who work to professional standards. . . The Pro-Ams are knowledgeable, educated, committed and networked, by new technology. The twentieth century was shaped by large hierarchical organisations with professionals at the top. Pro-Ams are creating new, distributed organisational models that will be innovative, adpative and low-cost.. . .

"There are going to be more Pro-Ams in more walks of life and they are set to have a significant influence on society: socially, politically and economically. A Pro-Am pursues an activity as an amateur, mainly for the love of it, but sets a professional standard. Pro-Ams are unlikely to earn more than a small portion of their income from their pastime but they pursue it with the dedication and commitment associated with a professional. For Pro-Ams, leisure is not a passive consumerism but active and participatory; it involves the deployement of publicly accredited knowledge and skills, often built up over a long career, which has involved sacrifices and frustrations. . . .

"We use a variety of terms -- many derogatory, none satisfactory -- to describe what people do with their serious leisure time: nerds, geeks, anoraks, enthusiasts, hackers, men in their sheds. Our research suggests the best way to cover all the activities covered by these terms is to call the people involved Pro-Ams."


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