Jason on Tue, 15 Jul 2003 00:08:08 -0400

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

On Monday 14 July 2003 9:30 am, Arthur S. Alexion wrote:
> Jason wrote:
> >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.

Wow, sounds like some hard learned experience there. I was mainly just ranting 
and venting in a public forum (not the best idea in the world). Maybe in the 
area of capitalism my views are somewhat simplistic, but I can definitely see 
where you are coming from. I can only say that I was probably assuming that 
"survival of the fittest capitalism" was the generally accepted form of 
capitalism. Somewhere in there is the concept of the "invisible hand", but 
that gets out of my area of understanding and way way off topic. I appreciate 
the input, and will have to chew on these thoughts for a little while. In the 
time being, I'll probably limit my use of the words capitalism and 
capitalistic, and probably stick with "free markets".

> Free software threatens capitalism because it blurs the definition of
> private property, thereby weakening the power of capital.  In the open

At the risk of sticking both feet in mouth, I could further digress into a 
discussion of whether thoughts or ideas should ever be considered property, 
particularly once they are shared or made known to the public. I think that 
the notions of "Intellectual Property" start to blur the definition of 
private and property. But, we probably don't need to digress too much further 

> 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

Well, I'd say that there had been a lot of investment capital combined with IP 
legal battles driving much in the proprietary world. The investment capital 
has become somewhat of a scarcity, leaving even more focus on the IP legal 
battles. And, somewhere in there, hard work is just an expected constant 
neverending supply stream.

> world, it is merely a lubricant -- necessary to the continued operation,
> but not the driving force.)

This is where I'm unclear on how there is really a threat. Software 
development (free, open source, proprietary, whatever) can be helped (or 
hurt) through investment capital. If it benefits from it, how is it really a 
threat to future investment?

> [sorry for getting so off track, if not off topic]
I appreciate the feedback. While I type this I'm configuring SuSE 8.2 for my 
wife's new desktop PC. Does that help?

Jason Nocks

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