Arthur S. Alexion on Mon, 14 Jul 2003 13:32:05 -0400

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Re: PLUG Picnic! (Really Re: [PLUG] The Next Step? -- was Community Service Project)

Jason wrote:

On Saturday 12 July 2003 7:23 am, Arthur S. Alexion wrote:

Paul wrote:

I guess it wound't hurt to show an example of the type of computers,
if any, they currently have access to. For example, on one side we
have an obsolete Apple or M$ computer, and on the other side we have a
sponsored PC running free, modern Open Source software. While we ask
for help paying for hardware, we offer the software and expertise to
help the kids get the most out of the computers.

Bad idea, IMO. ( I have more experience with suits than technology
which you can figure out by reading some of my posts. ;-) ) Alot of
corporate types see Open Source as anti-capitalistic, if not downright
socialistic. We don't need to emphasize it. We shouldn't hide it ,

I still don't understand how this country has turned into such an anti-competitive conglomerate focused business environment. To me, monopolies are somewhat socialistic and downright anti-capitalistic.

Free Software (as in speech) means that any companies that want to can be involved offering products and services making profits. It re-enables a truly competitive free marketplace. To me, this is the opposite of a socialistic environment. I think a lot of companies are just scared that they can't compete in a fair environment, and they might be right.

Jason, don't confuse *capitalism* with *free markets and competition*. *Capitalism* is about making money off of /investing wealth/ versus making money off of /work, ideas and talent/. In my experience, capitalism is a principle sacred to its adherents, where as *free markets* and *competition* are doctrines of convenience, much like /states rights/. When pro-competition laws like the anti-trust laws interfere with profits, capitalists find it easy and not ideologically inconsistent to oppose them (just like many self-professed states-rights conservatives are happy to support federal laws. like the "Protection of Marriage Act", that usurp traditional state authority). In capitalism, labor, ideas and talent are commodities that can be bought and sold with /capital/. In capitalism, it is not so important that work, innovation and talent create value, as the idea that capital investment facilitates work and innovation.

Free software threatens capitalism because it blurs the definition of private property, thereby weakening the power of capital. In the open source movement, as I understand it, the power lies in combining work, ideas and talent, through sharing of their fruits via free software and open source code. Capital, though not irrelvant, becomes peripheral. (Let me try a metaphor. In the secret, proprietary software world, capital is the fuel that drives the engine, whereas, in the open source world, it is merely a lubricant -- necessary to the continued operation, but not the driving force.)

[sorry for getting so off track, if not off topic]


Art Alexion
Arthur S. Alexion LLC

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