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Price to Sell: Is Free the Future?

Malcolm Gladwell’s latest New Yorker article takes on Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of Radical Price. As you would assume, Gladwell is very skeptical about the whole idea of “free” as a business model. Here’s Gladwell’s counter argument on Anderson’s idea about journalism turning into an “avocation”:

His advice is pithy, his tone uncompromising, and his subject matter perfectly timed for a moment when old-line content providers are desperate for answers. That said, it is not entirely clear what distinction is being marked between “paying people to get other people to write” and paying people to write. If you can afford to pay someone to get other people to write, why can’t you pay people to write? It would be nice to know, as well, just how a business goes about reorganizing itself around getting people to work for “non-monetary rewards.” Does he mean that the New York Times should be staffed by volunteers, like Meals on Wheels?