On Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 03:35:24AM +0900, John J. wrote:
On Jul 24, 2007, at 10:21 AM, Alex Y. wrote:
Uh, by your debased definition matter, like energy is neither created
nor destroyed at the sub atomic level. It just changes form or breaks
into constituent components, so nothing has any true scarcity, just
scarcity of condition and circumstance.
Actually, that’s not strictly true, speaking from a semi-classical
physics standpoint (I say “semi-” because I don’t quite want to go all
the way back to Newton, and “classical” because I’m avoiding some of the
weirder implications of current subatomic physics theory, like
“borrowing” matter from probability). Generally, the matter/energy deal
is thought to be a zero-sum game. There is, in fact, scarcity, but we
haven’t even come close to reaching that limit (yet).
For the moment, however, it looks like there isn’t any scarcity of
and energy per se. There is, however, a market scarcity because of the
fact that matter is not easy (yet) to alter in fundamental ways,
requiring the expenditure of mass quantities of energy, and energy is
even more difficult to eke out of the universe. Market scarcity is
measured more often in cost than in actual physical existence.
If you package something in some way and sell it, and somebody buys
it, then you have something of a business model.
Dirt is not scarce by normal definition, yet people sell it and buy it!
Water as well.
See above, re: cost.
How can they have scarcity?
They don’t exist. So the scarcity is your time?
Bingo. See above, re: cost.
You’re just blindly believing all software should be free. Not all of
it should be free. Stallman is not right about everything. He’s a
convenient nut to have for pushing ideas, but a little to extreme and
The fact that someone takes a position you do not like in no way makes
that position depend on “blind” belief. I tend to guess you include me
in that sweeping statement, rather than targeting only Alex, and judging
by performance thus far I probably am aware of (i.e. can “see”) more of
the economic factors involved in the foundation of the product-based
software industry than you are. That doesn’t mean there isn’t someone
else on this mailing list (or newsgroup or forum) who doesn’t know more
about it than I do – I’m just pointing out that your use of the term
“blind” is probably a substitute for an expression of your distaste
rather than a useful metaphor for anyone’s willingness or ability to
“see” the merits of your argument.
You’re missing the fundamental rule of economics: supply and demand.
There’s a lot more to economics than “supply and demand” but,
“supply” is exactly the principle of economics that you’re ignoring when
you ignore the fact that software “product” scarcity must be enforced by
some overarching power structure (in this case, the government) for the
commoditized proprietary software business model to be even tenuously
viable. I’m not 100% sure that implication is your intent, but it’s
the consequence of the arguments you’re using.
By your thinking, all content would be free because it is stored in a
So if I store things in an analog medium it’s ok to sell it due to
scarcity, since it can’t be exactly easily reproduced?
That’s just not sensible.
I don’t think anyone made that argument specifically.
You still don’t get the fact that some things are public domain and
free and some things are not.
You make it, you decide what to do with it.
Actually, I think Alex gets that – and thinks that in some cases the
“things that are not” should be in the public domain.
I, for one, entirely agree that when you make something you should be
able to decide what to do with it – with the caveat that once you
release something into the wild, you should not expect to have complete
control over what others do with it, especially when they make something
based on it (such as a copy), barring outside influences such as
governmental enforcement of artificial scarcity.
Even then, it’s unrealistic to expect that people will not make (at
approximate, in the case of analog) copies.
I can paint a picture. I may decide to hide it from the world. I may
decide to sell it and all reproduction rights with it.
I may just charge you to look at it, even though photons are free and
your ability to perceive variations in wavelengths of photon
vibration is not a product. I can say the painting is ‘relatively
unique’ and difficult to reproduce.
Your argument here fails the “affirming the consequent” test. It
that your conclusion is true within its premises.
If I create a digital illustration, it is no different. It is still
mark-making, but a different medium. According to your concept, it is
however, digitally stored and so the actual file should be free to
everyone? Of course printing and displaying it will never be exactly
the same twice since neither monitors nor prints are digital. They
For my part, my only statement was that something that is digitally
stored and distributed in that form is only subject to limitations on
copying and redistributing because of governmentally enforced artificial
scarcity, and that there are other business models than those that
on such governmental interference in market forces. Whether or not I
believe that one should do so was not specifically stated – and I
think that straying from the factually provable on that subject in this
list is a bad idea.
Your repeated differentiation between digital and analog is a red
herring, by the way. There are two ways to consider that difference:
If your implication that one has a “right” to control over future
disposition of anything matching the creation in question is true, you
have no such right to control of analog copies because they do not
If we consider analog copies to be a close enough approximation to
be covered by such a “right”, that in no way changes the fact that
governmentally enforced artificial scarcity is the only thing
making business models based on that idea at all viable in the market.