Subject: Re: street performer protocol
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 17:19:08 +0900 (JST)

As for "not on topic", suggestions that bear on a fundamental change
in business environment presumably are on topic....

>>>>> "Lynn" == Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@free-expression.org> writes:

    Lynn> It's too bad that's not on the agenda (at all).  As far as I
    Lynn> can see they're only talking about breaking them up (and
    Lynn> some conduct remedies in the interim).

    Lynn> On Sat, 6 May 2000, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote: 

    >> Excuse me?  I don't get the joke (if such it is) or the point
    >> (if you're serious).

    Lynn>     That the penalties proposed by the DOJ are hardly close
    Lynn> to something like nationalization.  Or for that matter, that
    Lynn> we should feel sorry for them, or that imposing sanctions on
    Lynn> an entity that has broken the law is unreasonable, or that
    Lynn> even the thought of nationalization is unreasonable, are all
    Lynn> pretty ridiculous.

"Entities" don't break laws; people do.  We do not want to impose
sanctions on _Microsoft_; we want to impose sanctions on the
decision-makers involved.  Assuming we do; I thought that to this
point all of the hooraw was about a civil case?

Even if the conviction is for criminal behavior, the DOJ should not be
thinking (at this point) in terms of "punishing" Microsoft or even its
executives.  (That will come later, when those companies that have
arguably been harmed by the monopolistic behavior the government has
so kindly already proved in court come forward to collect treble
damages.)  They should be thinking of how to preserve the enormous
productive capability of that organization while removing its ability
to impede progress in the industry.

That's why the very idea of "nationalization" is ludicrous.  Not only
would it impair productivity and maintain the monopoly intact, but it
would create a new constituency of civil servants with a vested
interest in embracing and extending yet more powers, and with the
power of the government behind them.  I can't see _any_ good that
would come of it, except for increasing the supply of sinecures and
attendant patronage for politicians.  This may work for la belle
France, with its ENArques (who are all so pure and incorruptible, eh,
Bernard?); it's not a great idea in the U.S.

    Lynn> I find laughable the notion that
    Lynn> artificial legal entities, with no natural human rights,
    Lynn> should be above equally harsh penalties for breaking the
    Lynn> law, or, for that matter, that anyone would attach moral
    Lynn> significance to it. It's ludicrous.

You are seriously confused about the nature of the modern corporation.

What you are suggesting is that millions of retirees and middle class
investors should have their investments destroyed.  Do you think the
recent dive in Microsoft's share price is not enough; that their
remaining capital should be confiscated?  I certainly _do_ attach
moral significance to those unwitting investors, who are _by law_ not
responsible for the company's behavior, beyond changes in the share
price.

If you don't like that law, change it.  But I seem to recall that you
are yourself currently in the market to create a startup, and take
advantage of exactly the same limited-liability laws?

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