Subject: software tax (was Re: [ppc-mobo] Re: GNU License for Hardware)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 12:38:21 +0900 (JST)

I don't oppose all taxes.  But the fact that they are inherently
coercive does count as a strike against them.  The fact that
government bureaucracy has very small incentive to be efficient in
production compared to private provision is a strike against
government provision.  Finally, the fact that the government has very
small incentive to be responsive to individual and even social needs
is a strike against government provision.

See how generous I am?  Three strikes already, and I'm still willing
to let advocates of taxes continue batting.  :-)

>>>>> "Bradley" == Bradley M Kuhn <> writes:

    Bradley> Russell Nelson wrote:
    >> Yup.  I mean, really, are there *any* free software businessmen
    >> who support a software tax?  I guess it depends on the deal you
    >> get, but in my experience, anything paid for with a tax is
    >> perpetually underfunded.

    Bradley> I don't know if I count as a "free software
    Bradley> business-person", but I have made my living since April
    Bradley> 1998 writing, documenting, and teaching free software.

Of course you count.

    Bradley> I, for one, do support a software tax, placed on hardware sales.

Good for you.

    Bradley> In the USA, I think it is reminiscent of NSF funding
    Bradley> (which, although it has a lot of problems these days)
    Bradley> aims to fund science without a political slant.

One of the biggest is that NSF-funded research, at least in my field,
typically does _not_ end up "free" until the grantee has finished
milking the database for all it is worth.  This (a) shuts out graduate 
students, and (b) results in duplicative data-gathering by those who
wish to participate in the controversy while it still matters.

Doesn't look much like free software to me.

    >> In order to make the big bucks off government coercion, you
    >> need a government monopoly.

Not true, Russ.  Eg, the big defense firms are a cartel, not a
franchised monopoly.

    Bradley> Why is it ipso facto coercion?  Are all taxes coercion by
    Bradley> your estimation?

Yes.  If I don't pay, do you promise that men with court orders and
eventually guns won't come to get me?  If you want to pay the tax, you 
can argue that it is not coercion for you.  But just because a
majority votes for a tax, doesn't mean that the minority isn't
coerced.  (Some in the minority, me for example, will often pay a tax
they vote against because they believe in democracy.  But many in the
minority, me for example ;-), will pay another tax only because they
are coerced.)

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."