John Naughton had a remarkably thoughtful and useful piece in the Observer this weekend, Everything you need to know about the internet. He covers what he deems the nine essential truths you have to understand about life online, and while that may be overreaching, he certainly makes nine good points. My favorite was this:

As an analytical framework, economics can come unstuck when dealing with the net. Because while economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources, the online world is distinguished by abundance. Similarly, ecology (the study of natural systems) specialises in abundance, and it can be useful to look at what’s happening in the media through the eyes of an ecologist.

I’m used to talking about the web as ecosystem but it’s useful to think of the ecosystem model in relation to our tendency to reduce everything to economics. You don’t want to miss Naughton’s other nine points, so be sure to read the whole article. It’s going to the top of my list of recommended reading for people who want to get their minds around this whole Internet thing.