My alternative busines model

MJ Ray markj at
Mon Dec 9 12:09:22 UTC 2002

Jan Wildeboer <jan.wildeboer at> wrote:
> Well - I can agree partially with that. Capitalism and entrepeneurship 
> aims at making money. The best and most reliable way (and thus the thing 
> market members try  to gain) is an unfair advantage in your specific 
> market. [...]

Of course, it is only "best" if judged on that one aim alone in the short
term.  To be "best" even if judged only on that one criterion in the long
term, you also have to be the single source for that product, otherwise
people will pay to avoid you.

> [...] It is the way capitalism works. No news here.

Surely it is only a symptom of an imperfect capitalist marketplace?  A true
capitalist market has some particular requirements (and my memory is buggy,
so I forget the precise terms) which are very hard to achieve in purpose,
because companies often tend to take the "path of least work", regardless of
the non-capitalistic nature of it.

> Som examples of unfair advantages: Knowledge, rare ingredients, sheer 
> company size, control of ressources.

I think these are advantages, but they are only unfair ones if you exploit
them in a particular way.  Copyrights and patents are one tool that can be
used to unfairly exploit a knowledge advantage.

> Copyright has one big difference. It is gained by creating and protected 
> automatically (EU-speaking here) and is free whereas patents are 
> expensive and not a common good.

This is a good point and probably why we are only now seeing the rise of
patents in our field?

>> Maybe abolishing these legal restraints would be a good thing, but that
>> would be a very large structural change and I doubt we could forsee the
>> outcome reliably.  Anyone up for a gamble?
> The implementation of the patent and copyright protection was exactly 
> that: a large structural change. No need to fear yet another change ;-)

Indeed, probably not.  Another large structural change for us looms if
software patents are given legal backing, or if they are not, so we probably
can't help but have one.  Let's try to make it favourable to us, rather than
trying to ignore it happening.

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