Re: PFF Agenda [cr-95/9/4]


Sender: •••@••.••• (Kurt Guntheroth)

Subject: re: capitalism and the internet

>Sender: •••@••.•••, Connie Page
>I have always been suspicious of capitalism because it is fueled by

This is a common misconception about capitalism.  A buyer and a seller enter
into commerce because it makes both better off than they would be without
trade.  At its root, capitalism is fueled by the common good.  The output
of goods and services maximizes value to society; an average of everyone's
opinion what should be produced.

We have only to view the economic wreckage of the soviet union for the
latest lesson in the failure of centrally planned economies.  The market
makes better decisions because it is dynamic, distributed, and produces
instantaneous feedback.

Here's the trick.  Situations arise where one party reaps nearly all the
benefit.  Monopolies are examples.  As human beings we view these situations
as infair.  We want to keep a system that sets prices in the marketplace,
while rejecting monopoly.

>Sender: "Dorothy K. Dean" <•••@••.•••>
>Have you ever heard of monopolies?  Like THE PHONE COMPANY before
>the government required that it decentralize.  I could name many other

Yes, Ms Dean, monopolies are evil.  Monopolies are a distortion of the free
market.  Now, to the point.  How do we design the internet and cyberspace
economy to reject monopoly?  Is there a small amount of government regulation
that will do the job?  Can the specific implementation of the network reject
attempts at control?

I see two monopoly risks on the internet.  One risk is a monopoly on
distribution.  The distributed structure of the internet works against such
a monopoly.  The centralized backbone gradually emerging to carry high
traffic newsgroups works toward such a monopoly.  The presence of cable
operators who are used to a distribution monopoly also works toward

The second risk is a monopoly on content.  Commercial on-line systems like
Microsoft Network, CompuServe, et al attempt to sign up content providers to
exclusive contracts.  If you must use a certain network to get a certain
content, they have you by the short hairs.  Competition among content
providers works against content monopoly.  "Free" content like WWW and
newsgroups works against content monopoly.  Concentration among content
providers works towards monopoly.

Censorship works toward content monopoly.  Censorship attacks "free" content
which is not well-controlled, replacing it with well controlled commercially
manufactured content.

>Sender: Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <•••@••.•••>

>  There is no such thing as "free market" capitalim except in the story
>boards of the propaganda that pumps up support for that BIG LIE.  What we
>have is monopoly capitalism, the current scourge of the world now
>destroying everything in its range.

Vigdor has such a big chip on his shoulder he is unwilling to examine the
benefits of a market system.

The world is a pretty big place.  Too big for Vigdor's assertion.  In the
world we have beautifully functioning free markets mixed in with the
most sinister monopolies and cartels.  What we must do is build into
cyberspace a framework that discourages monopoly.

We must do this because cyberspace is, in fact, a marketplace.  We must
do this because the contries where the internet has any real presence
are nearly all "capitalist" countries.  We must do this because we will
be left out if we waste our breath whining about how bad capitalism is.
We will be ignored if we spin futile dreams of an impossible utopia where
corporations and governments poof out of existence but the technological
infrastructure of cheap computers and satellite networks still survives.

Kurt Guntheroth


Sender: Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: PFF Agenda [cr-95/9/4]

On Tue, 19 Sep 1995, Cyber Rights wrote:

> Sender: Gary Weston <•••@••.•••>
> With regard to the idea that deregulation and competition in the telecom
> business will be a boon to consumers, I'd like to point out a tiny bit in
> the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat (owned by the NYT) today.  Both Pacific
> Bell and GTE have filed for increases in local telephone rates.  The
> reason they have given to the state PUC is that competition in the local
> call business, which began only a few months ago, has increased their
> costs enough to warrant an increase.

  "Cream skimming" is the primary business interest that will be in play
if and when a telecom bill becomes law. This is the so-called "competition
in the local call business," refered to above.  It involves bypassing the
local exchange network and reducing the access cost for the major
corporate users, and thereby, shifting as much as $20 billion in costs of
the network from long distance carriers and their corporate heavy hitters
to local ratepayers.

  At this point no one is interested in the residential business because that
is where all of the skyocketing cost increases will land.

> That isn't exactly what the deregulators promised us.

  The "deregulators" are a pack of monstrous fascist pigs supported by the
business propaganda system, and supported as well by the cultural trance,
which is well displayed in this list, and which altogether makes this
sweet land of liberty possible.

Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <•••@••.•••>

 Posted by --  Andrew Oram  --  •••@••.••• --  Cambridge, Mass., USA
                 Moderator:  CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)

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