Subject: Re: Ransom GPL Licensing: ethically and legally viable?
From: Peter Wayner <>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 15:02:56 -0500

>I believe the current U.S. societal respect for people like 
>programmers, lawyers, drug dealers, politicians, investment bankers, 
>salespeople, wealth inheritors, TV anchormouths, and other 
>non-physical workers -- and the consequent lack of respect for 
>people who actually grow food, make  things, fix things, and 
>otherwise keep society cranking -- is a major social  problem. (Yes, 
>I knew Jerry Brown when we were both kids, so it's not suprising 
>that he's said the same thing many times in slightly different 
>words. His parents and mine were both in the old California 
>Democratic Council that was often accused of being a socialist front 
>by the John Birch Society et al.)

I think much of this respect is hype and often distorts the 
marketplace. Many plumbers I know make more money than programmers. 
So do some skilled contractors.

It might make more sense to speak about "commodity jobs" instead of 
"blue collar work" because that's the effect. HMOs and others are 
doing a good job turning doctoring into a commodity business. 
Companies like ClearChannel are using robot disk jockeys to 
commoditize radio announcers. It happens to any profession that's in 
demand. Alas.

The real trick is trying to find some immovable object or task and 
gain control of it. Then your job can't be outsourced to southeast 
asia. This is sort of a modern corollary to the British habit of 
grabbing control over any strait or narrows in the seas. Ah Gibralter.