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Re: Control freak setting "standards"
This pivotal issue was cast a century ago in terms of Railroad Barons and George Gilder
has recently recast it just so, meistersinging the barons' praises. This will be one side
in the political sideshow surrounding the present matter. It is far from new and has
always been, colorful. It makes for Grand Opera, in fact.
Common Carriage and Anti-Trust has always been about who imposes and collects tariffs in
various polities, the Holy Roman Emperor's petty Electors in a less than Germany, London
Merchants in His Majesties Colonies and Plantations, the Royal Navy, the SS and the KGB
(considered as economic enterprises) in Mittel Europa, Saddam Hussein, and so on. It is
very important to note that the collectors of indirect taxes tend to get richer than even
the state but to bring disaster down upon themselves and all around them.
That is why the traditional wisdom in North America has long leaned towards economic
integration, <Zollverein>, as well as to an open standards environment with, for
instance, patent protection (and disclosure). Today's controversies, I think, hinge on
the old business of extending "free speech", "privacy" and "copyright" to where there
used to be only limited and temporary patents or due process protection against the
"taking" of property but not against taxation of property or the military claims of the
state relating to the regulation of society and the discipline of arms.
Here on the right today, we hear again the old song of Life, Liberty & Property! or Whig
Tyranny, as it was also called. In sum, it may not be a cool, new world we enter into
behind the Childrens' Crusade banner of Gilder, Gates, Prester George (Will), and so on.
It may be a regression to some considerable nastiness we had here in North American
before 1784 and in Scotland after 1747.
The other side, I hope, will put a narrow but rigorous case for upholding the exclusive
right of the federal government to impose and collect tariffs with a component of
monopoly rent in them. However, taking that power from Microsoft should not imply there
is a case for the federal/state/local government mish-mash to exercise it themselves, as
they now do with telephone monopoly. In fact, there may be few economies of scale or
scope durable enough to warrant any monopoly pricing of any digital medium at all.
If so, then the attempt to enforce monopoly pricing, be it by "jack-booted" "product
managers", "system architects", "software licensing police", or garden-variety government
revenuers may all fail catastrophically. I believe that the only sustainable or
legitimate monopoly in the digital trades very generally is the states' ancient monopoly
of arms. But, that is a whole 'nother debate. The word "standard", as in national flag or
battle ensign, refers explicitly to the military perogatives of the state, in a republic,
or, before that, of the ruling house or houses in a very concrete, non-symbolic, way.
Flags are pretty to gaze upon from afar. But, they are very difficult to carry or even be
near in battle.
Gerry Britton wrote:
> On Fri, 31 Oct 1997 10:35:29 -0500 (EST), John Robert BEHRMAN wrote:
> >RIESER has touched upon the pivotal issue: "an open development
> Exactly. In an open environment, MS' near monopoly would be eroded and eventually
> destroyed. I believe Mr. Gates is not about money, but control.
> Does the US Gov believe it to be beneficial to its citizens to have one control freak
> setting the (low) standards for this media?