Yochai Benkler is a professor of law and an author of The Wealth of Networks and The Penguin and the Leviathan. Benkler coined the term "common's based peer production" to describe collaborative efforts in the networked information economy. The term was first described in the paper Linux and the Nature of the Firm, published in 2002.
So building the ability to form groups - to communicate - to improve collaborative abilities - seems to be hardwired into the species. but it was very limited until xcommunications began to spread - limited in distance and limit in terms of bandwidth.
The person who is clearest about the benefits if yochai Benkler. an economist who wrote the wealth of networks.before that he wrote a very important paper on the course of information in a corporation. that the benefits of corporate status were being left behind by the capabilities and benefits of social capital.
The wealth of networks was such a fundamental rethinking of the sources of future opportunity that he chose to name it after the wealth of nations by adam myth as a kind of hint as to how important he believed it was.
Yonejji Masuda predated that thought in 1979 with his book the Information Sociery as Post Industrial Sociary in which he identified the"Information voluntary community".