Re: cr> The Political Economy of the Internet: a new essay by Strangelov


Sender: John Whiting <•••@••.•••>

If Marilyn Davis' comments on The Political Economy of the
Internet are intended as a spoof, they're very amusing. But if
they're intended as the blueprint for a cyber-future, I'm
dusting off my Olivetti. Will the real Dr. Strangelove please
stand up?

John Whiting
Diatribal Press


Sender: Dov Wisebrod <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cr> The Political Economy of the Internet

>Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)
>And yes we can levy taxes.  It is *reasonable* for us to collect sales
>tax on purchases made in this medium.  (Right now in California, there
>is no state sales tax on purchases made by computer.)  Our tax can be
>collected for us by the store-front software package (Netscape's
>IStore, for example).  If necessary, we can enforce the tax by keeping
>a database of which companies do and do not pay their internet tax.
>If they don't pay, we boycott them.
>But yes, we *can* prosecute in our own courts, online.  I look forward
>to seeing flameproof areas on the net.  We can enforce this by holding
>online court.  (eVote can be used for this.)  I could bring charges
>against a flamer and if there is measurable agreement among peers that
>a particular post is on fire, we banish the author from the flameproof
>parts of cyberspace for a month or so.
>Sure we can hire and fire.  And we will when we have money.  We
>prepare by developing the tools and skills necessary to deliberate
>toward democratic decisions.

Who is "we"? Who is "us"? A tax system requires a centralized collection
agency. It needs a select, representative group to conduct collection and
distribution of funds -- even if "we" decide by "our" collective will how
much, from whom, to whom and toward what purposes the funds are collected
and distributed. Similarly, prosecution can only be conducted by an
organized system smaller than the whole. Would you permit self-appointed
groups to unilaterally dictate prosecution? And what about enforcing the
verdict? Finally, the net and its users do not hire and fire. Rather,
commercial organizations that participate in the net do so. And the net
isn't and shouldn't be run like a corporation.

One of the reasons this medium functions so smoothly and productively is
that it lacks the bureaucratic trappings of government and corporations.
There is no Cabal. We -- the collective whole of net participants -- must
not be fooled into adopting false strength by attempting to artificially
emulate existing organizational models. The net is unique and must be
treated differently.

>We've got it all.  We have the potential for more power than any
>organization has ever had, more than the combined powers of all the
>world's governments.  With some time and effort, we'll control the
>world, not the other way around.  Don't spend your money on spaceships
>yet :)

Precisely. But we must be careful to choose the right strategy and not
blindly follow the paths to power that have been taken by other
organizations. Those organizations merely represent earlier steps in the
evolutionary adaptation that has resulted in the net's system.

  /      Dov Wisebrod        The Legal Group for the Internet in Canada /
 /      •••@••.•••              /
/               •••@••.•••              /


Sender: Charles Bell <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cr> Virtual Poetry

On Sun, 17 Mar 1996, Cyber Rights wrote:

> Sender: John Whiting <•••@••.•••>
> Early in nineteenth-century England there was a
> small group of people who believed passionately in truth, beauty and
> political justice. They had few resources. Most of them lived short
> lives. Their voices were like murmers in a tempest. When they died,
> they were soon forgotten. But they had the good fortune to be poets.
> Their names were William Godwin, John Keats, and Percy and Mary
> Shelley.

...and their most enduring creation was `Frankenstein.'

(There are worse things than shopping malls.)

Charles Bell

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
   CyberJournal:  (WWW or FTP) -->
 Materials may be reposted in their _entirety_ for non-commercial use.