Subject: Re: How accurate is Metcalfe's law? (Was: Ximian software)
From: "Perry E. Metzger" <perry@wasabisystems.com>
Date: 02 Jan 2002 22:51:20 -0500


Ben_Tilly@trepp.com writes:
> But the value of the net to an individual person is still bottlenecked
> by that person's ability to enjoy making the connection.  While it is
> possible for individual connections to be worth a thousand dollars per
> hour to the recipient, I think most will agree that, barring inflation,
> it will never happen that the average person will exceed $1000/hour of
> derived value from time spent connecting.

Careful there. As the Chicago and especially Austrian economics
schools mention over and over, the only way to assess monetary
equivalent value is with what people will pay for something. Net
connections are worth whatever people are paying for them (typically
pennies an hour), regardless of the value of the information
retrieved.

It does not matter that my life is of infinite value to me and that
without water I will die -- the glass of water in front of me is not
worth even $1 no matter how much I value my life, unless in odd
circumstances (say, at an oasis in the desert).

(Attempts to produce other metrics of value, like the Marxian "labor
theory of value", have been general failures. The Marxian metric would
value a badly designed and shoddy program that took 300 programmers a
year to write far above an equivalent program that was beautifully
written but took only one programmer to write. It also values a ditch
that takes a week to dig for a man with a shovel far above an
equivalent ditch produced in an hour by a backhoe. Beware of
value metrics that are not validated by the intersection of supply and
demand curves.)

--
Perry E. Metzger		perry@wasabisystems.com
--
NetBSD Development, Support & CDs. http://www.wasabisystems.com/