Subject: Re: FW: Why would I pay for Ximian software?
From: "Joshua C. Lerner" <jlerner@panix.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 12:21:34 -0500 (EST)

On Thu, 3 Jan 2002, Harald Koch wrote:

> "Joshua C. Lerner" wrote:
>
> > Yes, capitalism is oriented around corporations trying to maximize profit.
> > Individuals too are generally interested in maximizing income.
>
> Most individuals I know are interested in maximizing "standard of
> living", an entirely different measure

Sure, the value of income (money) is based on what you can do with it.
Isn't money what you use to raise your standard of living? I guess I need
to know how you define "standard of living".

> which (after a certain point) is only loosely related to income.

How do you figure this?

> This is one of the disconnects between pure free-market capitalism and
> reality; money is not the only measure of progress or perfection.

For individuals, sure. I have goals in life besides making money. I think
for most people, making money is not the #1 priority. But it's up there.

> Neither is "efficient resource allocation", but that's another argument :)
>
> > The paradox of capitalism, IMHO, is that the needs of society as a whole
> > are best met when businesses and individuals act in their own best
> > self-interest. Others have explained why better than I ever could.
>
> Unfortunately, businesses and indivuduals seldom act in their own best
> self-interest; that's *hard*.

If businesses "seldom" act in their own self-interest (which is to
maximize profit), then how do they survive at all? Do you envision some
kind of race to the bottom? Is it all just based on chance? How do you
account for which companies thrive and which fail?

> For corporations, there are numerous
> pressures to do the opposite; quarterly earnings expectations are one
> obvious one.

How is meeting quarterly earnings estimates NOT in a public company's best
interest? Most investors value steady growth, a company's predictability,
etc. Or are you suggesting that investors are wrong to punish a company's
stock when the company fails to meet earning's expectations?

> Individuals rarely even known what their own best
> self-interest is.

That's a rather dangerous opinion. The point is, who is most qualified to
make that judgment for himself or herself. You? The State? Or the
individual?

Do you think you typically try to act in your own best self-interest?  If
"yes", don't you think most people would say the same thing about
themselves?

> What does this have to do with free software business? Well, if you
> reason from an abstract model that doesn't have much connection to
> reality, don't expect realistic conclusions... <grin>

You're projecting... <grin>