Subject: Re: PGP CREATOR, NAI SPLIT OVER OPEN SOURCE DIFFERENCES
From: Rich Morin <rdm@cfcl.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001 11:19:08 -0800

At 1:14 PM -0500 2/25/01, Russell Nelson wrote:
>If you hold back nothing as proprietary, you are the proprietor of
>nothing.  Instead, you are a philanthropist.  Capitalists and
>philanthropists are separate (useful) roles in a society.

At the risk of getting stomped by the Real Economists (TM) on this
list, I think you are overstating the case.  There is a name for
markets where nothing is proprietary: "pure competition".  There is
perfect communication between buyers and sellers and no barriers to
entry.  Wholesale grain markets, retail gasoline, and "shovelware"
CDs are all examples of this kind of market.

You could say that producers in "pure competition" are philanthropists,
but mostly they are businesspeople who are working in a very rough
market.  The prices tend to get pushed down to the point where little
excess remains to pay for R&D, capital formation, etc.

Consequently, many producers try to find ways to differentiate their
wares, then charge a premium for them.  Even if the difference is
largely illusory, any difference that causes buyers to purchase one
version over another can be used to raise prices (and profits).

-r
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