Subject: Re: open source policy across the globe
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2004 09:49:02 +0100


  I think you miss my point (and my humor)

  I was commenting the sentence:

 `1. Software acquisition should only be based on "value for money" ' 

 in the context of government policy.

And my point is that value is something largely undefined, since you
have to circumscribe the externalities you are willing to include in
your determination of "value" ...  or "money".  After all, the
opposition between price and TCO is a form of inclusion of some
externalities in the acquisition of software.
  ... and my question is about the frontier between what you consider
relevant, and what you don't, which is especially important in the
case of government.

  I work in a state institute, and when I make a choice, I have to
consider whether it is good
  - for myself
  - for my research group
  - for the local research unit
  - for the whole institute
  - for France
  - for Europe
  - for mankind

  and in what way.   And the answers may conflict.

  Jobs are not equal, or may not be considered equal.  Most the people
around me prefer jobs created in France to jobs created in the USA
... and your economic considerations about productivity do not matter
much to them.

Killing a local job may be considered as negative value, or
alternatively as costing money ... from the local point of view.

Regarding my comment about your being a communist. It was only a joke.
Remember that when shown excepts of the US constitution, many people
think it is communist propaganda.  But there is not shame in being a
communist ...  the shame is to destroy democracy, but that can be done
with any economic system.


On Fri, Mar 05, 2004 at 03:56:32PM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> >>>>> "Bernard" == Bernard Lang <> writes:
>     Bernard> On Thu, Mar 04, 2004 at 04:11:59PM +0900, Stephen
>     Bernard> J. Turnbull wrote:
>     >> >>>>> "Bernard" == Bernard Lang <> writes:
>     Bernard> or : the cost of killing local jobs and having to
>     Bernard> compensate in some other ways
>     >> This isn't a cost, it's a benefit.
>     Bernard> I understand that killing jobs is a benefit (unless the
>     Bernard> job is fulfilling for the people)
> Jobs are about the benefits you provide for other people, not about
> the pleasure you get from them.  If you have a job because somebody
> else is prohibited from offering the product at a lower cost, you're
> not on salary, you're on welfare.
>     Bernard> but you nevertheless have to provide people with a living
> Yes, I do.  Tax me, please, so I can see how much I'm paying.
>     Bernard> ... and there may not be other jobs, not immediately, or
>     Bernard> not with a training cost, or not with other forms of
>     Bernard> investment.
> Yeah, but the measure implied by protecting the jobs you're talking
> about means taking jobs away from others, who presumably need them
> more because they're willing to accept less compensation.  If they
> don't need them more, then the lower cost implies spectacularly higher
> productivity.
>     >> "Protect people, not 'jobs'."
>     Bernard>     you're a communist ?
> No.  A humanist libertarian.  I'd rather educate the unemployed than
> subsidize their wage, I'd rather subsidize wages than directly
> transfer income, but if it comes to that, I would accept an increase
> in my taxes for welfare before an increase in prices.
> Prices (including wages) should reflect value given and received, not
> artificial restrictions on transactions.
> Why does that need saying on a list dedicated to free software?
> -- 
> Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
> 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.

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