Clay Shirky makes a powerful argument that micropayment schemes will never work, and outlines what he calls an “epochal” shift toward free content that is increasingly complex, collaboratively-produced, and high-quality.

“People want to believe in things like micropayments because without a magic bullet to believe in, they would be left with the uncomfortable conclusion that what seems to be happening — free content is growing in both amount and quality — is what’s actually happening.”