Subject: Re: Novel anti-software-patent article
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig@red-bean.com>
Date: 07 Jan 2000 11:11:12 -0800

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp> writes:

> You may not limit the beneficiaries that way.  Anybody whose pension
> fund invests in equities benefits from monopoly prices.  Taking the
> union of that group with similar indirect beneficiaries (anybody with
> auto insurance, for example, pays lower premia because the insurance
> company invests its reserves in equities), and the direct
> shareholders, and this "public" becomes an overwhelming majority.
> 80%? 90%?

Yes, we are all implicated in the system. I would go so far as to say
that by your definition of beneficiary, 100% of the US population
"benefits" from monopoly pricing.  And I can guarantee that figure
once S.S. is put into the market.

> Of course the degree to which people benefit depends on the size of
> their (possibly indirect) investment, and thus on their wealth.  But
> that is much more complicated than "R, S, and A v. everyone else".

And it's precisely this differential which we cannot ignore, and which
has the most real impact on quality of life.  Obviously if it's too
complex to calculate it's not worth considering and therefor we'll
fall back on our simpler notion of "benefit" as described above and
presto chango, we all, 100% of us, benefit from monopoly pricing.

What happens outside the U.S?  Can we generalize the "beneficiaries"
to mean the whole globe, or maybe even just a statistically
significant portion of them?  Trickle down baby, we're taking this
show on the road.

I quess what I'm saying is that if we're going to look at the benefits
and costs of monopoly pricing as provided for by that copyright and
patent systems, we cannot end-run around the issue by pointing to the
fact that nearly everyone is implicated in the expansion of the market
that comes from this monopoly pricing, and therefor we have a net
public benefit.  Doing so confuses the income from stockholdings
distributed across the population in a curve that increases
exponentially with the amount of invested capital a person already
has, with general public benefit.  This also conflates income with
benefit.

>     Craig> Is there some voodoo going on here I'm not seeing?
> 
> Yes.  It's that witch-doctor over there sticking pins into the "Richie
> Rich" doll as he roasts it over slow coals.

Oh ok, for a second there I thought it was a bait-and-switch,
replacing a disparate distribution of income over a generalized notion
of public with real public benefit, ignoring the ways in which prices,
cost of living and quality of life are affected by such marked
differences in income.  Or maybe a bit of sympathetic magic imbuing
the statistic "net income" with the power of benefit.

Glad to know that really it's just my own irrational hatred of rich
people like Eric Raymond and Bob Young, cause I can fix that with
therapy.

-- 
Craig Brozefsky                         <craig@red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software     http://www.red-bean.com/~craig
"riot shields. voodoo economics. its just business. cattle 
 prods and the IMF." - Radiohead, OK Computer, Electioneering