Subject: Re: Fwd: Wall Street article on a new Cooperative
From: "Benjamin J. Tilly " <ben_tilly@operamail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 09:55:37 +0800

David Fetter <david@fetter.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 19, 2004 at 01:23:26PM -0400, L Jean Camp wrote:
[...]
> And speaking of trust, I trust these greedy, short-sighted sons of
> bitches about as far as I can throw them.  They are *not* operating in
> the public interest, even by accident.

You are mistaken in that one.  As a personal example, I am
benefitting right now from the fact that AOL acted in the public
interest in buying Netscape and keeping the Mozilla code-base
alive.

Corporations are not actively malicious, just actively cynical,
manipulative, and self-centered.  If acting in the public interest
is temporarily in their interest, they will not hold back from
doing so because they might do you a favour.  Of course the fact
that they act in your interest in one second won't stop them from
acting against your interest in the next.

The example that I just used works for that as well.  As soon as
AOL finished using the fact that they _could_ go to Mozilla as a
bargaining chip with Microsoft, getting good terms for continued
access to Internet Explorer for many years to come, they cut the
Mozilla team adrift.

Barring management being unable to figure out what its own best
interests are (actually a significant issue), you can trust
corporations to behave fairly _predictably_.  Understand their
motivations and you can know where and when you can trust them -
and how far.

Suggested reading, _Information Rules_ and _The Logic of
Collective Action_.  Incidentally the latter made me aware of
exactly how the small exploit the great, which is something that
I'm often reminded of when I read rants about how corporations
should get together and fund more open source software.

Cheers,
Ben