Subject: Re: economic efficiency of free software
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 17:06:56 +0900

>>>>> "Phil" == Phil Hughes <fyl@a42.com> writes:

    Phil>   2. Are banking laws a problem or is it just U.S. banking
    Phil> laws?

_If_ banking laws are a problem, it will possibly be all banking laws
(and worse, any differences among them).

The issue with banking is that the bank does not act as an agent for
you in allocating your assets (compare a stockbroker, or the hired
manager of the corporation itself for that matter).  Rather, the bank
makes its own decisions about what to do with those assets, and those
decisions are normally quite unrestricted.  So banks need to be
carefully watched.  Typically this involves regulatory oversight by a
legally established arm of government, although some radical financial
theorists argue that government involvement actually does more harm
than good.

So, with the PSF as I understand it, you don't have a problem of
"banking".  I don't think Forrest's idea involves "banking" either,
since (IIUC) in both cases control of the use of the funds rests with
individual members, not with the entity.  It's not an intermediation
of deposits, whose owners only ask to get their money back with
interest, and loans.

The only potential problem I can see is that it provides an internal
payments scheme, and that might be regulated under banking laws.  I
don't think so, but IANAL and IANA banking specialist, either.

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.