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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 11:59:23 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) XEmacs/21.5 (celeriac, linux)

>>>>> "Samium" == Samium Gromoff <address@hidden> writes:

    Samium> At Mon, 24 Nov 2003 13:21:01 +0100,
    Samium> Peter Conrad wrote:

    >> "directly affected" does not mean that 0% enforcement implies
    >> 100% fraud.  Therefore, my argument that contracts don't
    >> *require* the possibility of enforcement holds.

    Samium> You are here discussing an economical plausibility of the
    Samium> "contracts and enforcement" issue.

No, he's not; what he wrote is a theorem about several well-known
models in economics.  It's tautologically true except in unrealistic
cases.  Now, Tom says "this contract is ethically bad because enforcing
it is a misuse of social resources."  If contracts by definition
(Tom's) involve state enforcement, then use of social resources has
been stipulated, and Tom's burden of proof is greatly decreased.  So
the _mere possibility_ of contract without enforcement is important to
the _ethical_ argument.

    Samium> My perception was we were discussing ethical aspects of
    Samium> it.

This is an ethical issue.

Where Peter's apparent line of argument fails is that I doubt that any
current proprietary vendor would be in business if the consumer
contract were a gentleman's agreement.  However, the burden of proof
on Tom is still greatly increased, because there is a set of models
where non-trivial amounts of contracting can be supported at
infinitesimal actual enforcement cost based on a "reputation" for

    Samium> Sidenote: i strongly believe that ethical but
    Samium> !obviously_economical wins in the long term
    Samium> _economically_.

What is obviously economical to me may not be at all obvious to you.

However, you'd better watch out for the contrapositive: if we can show
that proprietary software wins in the long run _economically_, then
free software is unethical.  You'll end up arguing Gates's side.  :-)

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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