Subject: Re: Two things
From: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 11:24 EDT

   Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 07:09:20 PDT
   From: ghost@aladdin.com (L. Peter Deutsch)

   Well, look at all the companies that are going "lean and mean" these days.
   Their customers may be getting wealthier (relatively), but their employees
   are getting squeezed harder and harder.  That's exactly the point I was
   making.  Unless *literally everyone* gets more efficient, the squeeze on
   the employees deprives them of more than they gain by being able to buy
   other things more cheaply.

This historical trend for about the last four hundred years has been
for peasants to become wealthier.  There *have* been short-term
reversals.  I'd argue that we're going through one now.

   And "more efficient" means lower costs; in a completely labor-based
   situation like free software businesses, that simply means people
   willing to work for less money.

I disagree entirely.  It can mean paying people less, but it can also
mean working "smarter".  For example, keeping an el-cheapo dot matrix
printer loaded up with FedEx forms, if you do that a lot.  It can mean
using email instead of making phone calls.  It can mean sending things
Priority Mail rather than FedEx Priority Overnighting EVERYTHING
(which some people do).

It can mean sending mail to fewer mailing lists and arguing fewer things.  :)

   An argument has been made that in a perfectly efficient market, no seller
   can make a significant profit, because no one can sell significantly above
   cost.  With the globalization of commerce (and software is a good example
   of this), the effect of this will be to pull all prices, and hence all
   incomes, down to that of the country with the lowest production costs --
   both for goods and services.  That is why I get uneasy when people make
   arguments that claim some kind of moral or natural imperative for a
   perfectly efficient market.

Well, speaking as a bleeding-heart liberal, I'm not sure that's such a
bad thing.  Don't we *want* the poor to do well?

And, over time, a market tends toward being more and more efficient.
So if you want to make money, you seek out inefficient markets, or
create a new market.

-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>    http://www.crynwr.com/crynwr/nelson.html
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | ask4 PGP key
11 Grant St.      | +1 315 268 1925 (9201 FAX)  | What is thee doing about it?
Potsdam, NY 13676 | LPF member - ask me about the harm software patents do.





  And "more efficient" means lower costs; in a
   completely labor-based situation like free software businesses, that
   simply means people willing to work for less money.

   > And about the only
   > way to keep a company needing to be more efficient, is to protect them
   > from competition, for example (and now we come full circle) by
   > granting them a patent.

   I'd certainly agree with that.

   An argument has been made that in a perfectly efficient market, no seller
   can make a significant profit, because no one can sell significantly above
   cost.  With the globalization of commerce (and software is a good example
   of this), the effect of this will be to pull all prices, and hence all
   incomes, down to that of the country with the lowest production costs --
   both for goods and services.  That is why I get uneasy when people make
   arguments that claim some kind of moral or natural imperative for a
   perfectly efficient market.

   L. Peter Deutsch :: Aladdin Enterprises :: P.O. box 60264, Palo Alto, CA 94306
   ghost@aladdin.com, ...decwrl!aladdin!ghost ; voice 415-322-0103 ; fax 322-1734
	       "Implementation is the sincerest form of flattery."