Re: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Sat Jul 21 2001 - 10:51:40 MDT

On Friday, July 20, 2001 11:18 PM Miriam English wrote:
> >Regarding the open source movement, How does this differ from a free
> >People cooperating and competing as they want sounds to me just like a
> >market. I don't see how some people can see this as anti-free market.
> Who said it was anti-free-market? Much of the thinking is the same.

I believe it was someone off list, which is why I did not name you or anyone
else in my post on the subject. I think _most_ of the thinking is the same.

> The 2
> philosophies dovetail nicely.

Glad you agree.

> Of course, I see: you thought that because I am not totally committed to
> capitalism that I am rabidly anti-free market.

Of couse, I see: you think that I think that, so you go on the attack.

> And that I mentioned it as a
> way to improve upon some of capitalism's failings then it must be being
> proposed as a competing anti-free-market philosophy.

We've been there before. In general, such improvements are not possible.
In general, interventionists have no way and little incentive to improve on
market outcomes. They have no way because, imperfect as they are, market
outcomes are the best way of finding what people really want. (See, e.g.,
Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society" (at, Henry
Hazlitt's _Economics in One Lesson_, Estaben Thomsen's _Prices and
Knowledge_, Roy Cordato's _Welfare Economics and Externalities in an Open
Ended Universe_, Sanford Ikeda's _Dynamics of the Mixed Economy_, and
Stephen Horwitz's _Microfoundations and Macroeconomics_ for more on this
information problem. I recommend you start with Hayek's essay.) Any
interference in this assumes that those interfering know better than the
participants themselves at the same time. It's easy to look back and point
out faults, very hard to design a system that reduces faults beforehand.
(Think of it as playing a video game where you don't know what's going to
happen next, versus starting over after you know. No economic system is
really in the latter position most of the time. Instead, they all have to
deal with imperfect information, disequilibrium, and discoordinated plans.)

They have little incentive because once you have the power to veto market
outcomes, you have the power to veto other people's choices, which means you
have the power to disregard other people's choices. Once that happens, the
general outcome is those who have that power act to help themselves, their
allies, and whomever they deem important. There's a whole school of
economics, Public Choice, dedicated to studying this problem.

Combine the two together and what you get is a growing interference in the
market that leads to new problems that leads to further interferences in a
reinforcing cycle of intervention.

> >Certainly, the open source movement is open and not regulated by any
> >government body. Voluntary acceptance of standards and protocols is not
> >regulation.
> >
> >Isn't even the grounding metaphor in Raymond's "The Cathedral and the
> >Bazaar" (at ) for
> >source a market? The bazaar?
> Exactly.

Glad you agree in this area. If it's true here, then why do you think
government regulation works elsewhere? Rhetorical question, don't answer.


Daniel Ust
    See me utterly refute pancritical rationalism at:

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