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Re: [decentralization] Groove centralizes

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  • Sampo Syreeni
    ... I d say because freedom only works as long as the collective good coincides with what is best for each individual separately. When this is not the case, we
    Message 1 of 15 , Nov 6, 2001
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      On Thu, 1 Nov 2001, Todd Boyle wrote:

      >Why do corporations work completely differently from the way open
      >marketplaces function, within democratic society?

      I'd say because freedom only works as long as the collective good
      coincides with what is best for each individual separately. When this is
      not the case, we speak about a tragedy of the commons. When it arises, it
      is usually solved via ownership. My theory is that this is what
      corporations are (or should be) about: they solve some particular instance
      of the tragedy of the commons on the marketplace, and so cannot function
      based on competition alone. Of course, competition and market based
      optimization are a valuable asset, too, which is why companies use
      internal billing, subcontractors and commonly externalize functions which
      are not part of the company's core operating area.

      But the core, that is under hierarchical control for a very simple reason:
      operating it in an autocratic fashion makes it possible to derive extra
      value from the market by optimizing across what would otherwise be a
      number of competing, uncooperative entities. Sometimes the ownership
      structure and the coercion it brings about is simply unavoidable if we
      wish cooperation.

      >When developers understand the answer to this question, they will be
      >more likely to write P2P software instead of ever-more-powerful command
      >and control systems.

      I'm not quite sure the reasoning behind corporate structures should be
      extended to software. After all, economics and money are about dealing
      with scarcity, and that has very little to do with P2P.

      I think just about the only relevant aspect, here, is that in P2P, the
      incentive to cooperate comes naturally in the form of network effects. We
      perhaps shouldn't try to supress it by competing in specific architectures
      or protocols, but document protocols openly and let people embrace and
      extend freely. It's quite likely that the best architecture would be left
      floating, in the end.

      Maybe we just shouldn't try to operate the P2P industry by the usual rules
      of the market, but instead put the market where it belongs, where there is
      scarcity. In the software industry, that is likely service, not technology
      itself.

      Sampo Syreeni, aka decoy - mailto:decoy@..., tel:+358-50-5756111
      student/math+cs/helsinki university, http://www.iki.fi/~decoy/front
      openpgp: 050985C2/025E D175 ABE5 027C 9494 EEB0 E090 8BA9 0509 85C2
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