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Re: Technological inheritance
COMPUTER GURUS AND POLICY ACTIVISTS
MEET ON LINE TO REPRESENT THE PUBLIC
INTEREST IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
VERSUS MICROSOFT CORP.
(Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org if what you see is
not easy to read -- short lines with a wide left margin.)
Louis Proyect today quoted Gar Alperovitz's article,
"Distributing Our Technological Inheritance" from the
Oct. 94, Technology Review, as follows:
"If we admit that what any one person, group, generation,
or even nation contributes in one moment of time is
minuscule compared with all that the past bequeaths like
a gift from a rich uncle, we are forced to question the
basic principles by which we distribute our technological
The above states an activist concern (1) to prevent
monopolistic advantage, however acquired, from
destroying competition in the communications arts,
sciences and market, and (2) to prevent a general
shriveling of income, in pursuit of communications
advances, because no attempt is made to support
excellence and effort in communications; -- a
shriveling that results from maldistribution of our
The Department of Justice and the courts, (if it comes
to that in the end), will determine what to do about the
facts we have heard on this List (and elsewhere). I am
confident Microsoft will back down. The exact
compromise is not easily guessed.
But what of our inheritance -- how can it be distributed
in ways that will make it grow faster, and have it do the
most good for the society we all make possible -- the
one on which we depend?
I would not take from Microsoft or its owners capital
they have acquired, (except as current law may require).
But I would look to the future to see if by tax reform
and budget reform we cannot ensure future funding of
competitive scientific, artistic and commercial work,
no matter how much any firm may be ahead in any
field. How to do that?
On a large scale, as we did with Aluminum, government
can fund competition in communications (and all its
aspects), if that ever becomes necessary. Right now,
private capital seems to be ample in all areas. There
is no slowing down in sight. (And, of course, the anti-
trust enforcement at the heart of the current matter will
do much on this large scale.)
On a small scale, to keep the our startups from having
to close operations and go hungry, subsidized full
employment -- for ordinary people and for gurus and
dreamers -- is necessary.
If national economic policy was quick to keep
government loans, grants and spending always high
enough to avoid recession, and the civil right to credit
from government (as employer of last resort) were
implemented, we would be distributing the benefit
of our technological inheritance in a practical way.
To win support for such a regime, full reliance on
functional finance is in order. This means that no
income (or other) tax is imposed except to prevent
inflation. And where compulsory saving will do as
well as taxes, it would be used instead of taxes.
John Gelles email to: email@example.com
http://www.myturn.org ; http://www.rain.org/~jjgelles/
Economic rights, wealth and individual and national
security -- financed by credit -- inflation protected
by automation and saving -- not by high interest,
high unemployment and high taxes.