Subject: Re: Ransom GPL Licensing: ethically and legally viable?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 19 Feb 2003 19:43:14 +0900

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <lord@emf.net> writes:

    Tom> a) Federal minimum wage is too low.

Most Bangladeshis would be ecstatic, though.

    Tom> b) There is an ecology at work.  Development of esoteric
    Tom> skills (such good programming skills) imposes a financial
    Tom> burden on both individuals and their supporting communities
    Tom> of origin that, for example, blue collar work does not.

I said later, "amortized cost of education".  As for the communities'
burden, I don't see why you should collect in wages the costs paid by
the community.

    Tom> c) Opportunities for [CENSORED].

Try to avoid own goals, OK?

	I just don't understand this.  If what you guys do isn't
	valuable enough to morally justify at least _asking_ for "all
	the traffic will bear", how do you justify asking for more
	than $6.50/hour + amortized cost of education (and only if you
	paid for it yourself)?

    Tom> What the hell are you talking about?

There are four broad possibilities:

1.  Wage differences can't be morally justified.  This gives the
    $6.50/hr number (U.S. law prohibits paying the global average).
    That seems unacceptable to you, and I don't much like it myself.

2.  Wage differences are justified by who people are.  This is
    unanswerable (but ethically repugnant to me, it's the dinner scene
    in Orwell's Animal Farm: "pigs in the house, cows in the barn").

3.  Wage differences are justified by what people do.  This divides
    into two categories, as far as I can see.  The day-to-day physical
    activities of a person, and what they contribute to others.  The
    physical activities fall under justification 2, above, as far as I
    can tell.

4.  Something else, outside of my imagination.

That leaves social contribution.

I don't see why there should be a floor, or ceiling, on absolute
compensation for social contribution.  And I certainly don't see why
contribution to _my_ well-being should be measured by what _you_ do.
On that reasoning, I think that ultimately compensation should be
based on how much people benefit, which can be measured (to some
approximation) by how much they'll voluntarily pay for the product.

So I don't have a problem with people being compensated more if they
sell more copies, or if they receive more per copy.  It would be nice
if we could find a way to achieve that without "intellectual
property", of course.

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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              ask what your business can "do for" free software.