NT: free software and money

Frank Heckenbach frank at g-n-u.de
Sun Mar 28 15:26:40 UTC 2004

Moritz Sinn wrote:

> 3. all i want to say is: i doubt that free software will ever be more
>    than a market niche in our economy. i already explained the reasons and the fact
>    that the knowledge is shared and because of that the product would be
>    cheaper doesn't change it. you can also reuse proprietary software
>    and if sharing knowledge would make economic sense, then why is
>    "intellectual property" (intellectual monopoly) more important today
>    then ever before?

(Because economy and even society is more and more dictated by
lawyers who are the ones who gain most from it?)

>    why do all companys keep their knowledge secret,
>    why are new laws inveted to stop us from sharing our wisdom?
>    economy would never be so stupid to demand something which is bad for
>    itself!

I think you confuse what's better for the single company (in a given
environment) and what's better for all. For a single company, it may
have advantages to keep their knowledge secret, though it harms
others. So if all do it, all will lose in total. (That's a basic
principle, see "prisoner's dilemma".)

And it's one of the basic problems of capitalism, also in other
areas. Capitalism wants companies to be selfish, selfish companies
try to grow until they reach a monopoly, and a monopoly means no
competition which is the basic idea of capitalism. (Very simplified,
of course.) That's no proof that capitalism can't work (that would
be a discussion for other places), just shows that you have to be
careful with terms like "economic sense".


Frank Heckenbach, frank at g-n-u.de
GnuPG and PGP keys: http://fjf.gnu.de/plan (7977168E)

More information about the Discussion mailing list