Skip to main content

View Diary: Woman fired for Kerry bumpersticker (237 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  A flawed ideal (none)
    but the ideal of communism is that production and delivery of goods and services is not valued monetarily

    Everything created has monetary value because everything created has an opportunity cost associated with its creation.  Do you honestly believe that the effort required to become a surgeon is of the same value as the effort required to work the grill at McDonald's?  There is a much greater opportunity cost associated with becoming a doctor - years in school, huge tuition costs - hence a doctor is able to command more value for his services than the guy making burgers.

    If there is no monetary incentive to create goods and services, then those goods and services which are difficult to create will not be created.  In a communistic society, there is simply no incentive to put forth the effort when the well-deserved fruits of your labor will never come to fruition.  Once again, the quickest way to destroy a healthy economy is to convert it to communism.  When everyone owns everything, no one really owns anything.  When no one owns anything, no one has any reason to do anything.

    "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography." -- Ambrose Bierce

    by Libertarialoon on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:50:17 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  This website is a refutation of your premise (none)
      If there is no monetary incentive to create goods and services, then those goods and services which are difficult to create will not be created.

      This website runs on an Open Source Linux system... Linux was difficult to create, but was created by the donated labor of countless individuals without profit motive.

      This website runs on an Apache server. Apache, like Linux, was an Open Source development effort.

      Many, many pieces of complex software (and hardware) have been created by creative individuals out of personal desire for the end result... or love of the process of creating and/or the social process of collaborating in the creation of it.

      There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.

      "I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."
      George Washington

      by Malacandra on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 07:30:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Software is a different beast altogether (none)
        Creating software is a distributed process.  Because software is not a tangible good - it's simply 1s and 0s, there is no barrier to duplicating it.  The cost of creating a copy of Linux is virtually nil.  As a result, although there was certainly a great deal of effort put forth in the early years of the creation of Linux, particularly by Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox, that task is now accomplished by thousands of engineers the world over now.  There is very little opportunity cost associated with the continued development of Linux because the development model of Free Software is conducive to spreading out the job to countless engineers all over the world via the Internet.

        The same cannot be said of any industry that deals in tangible goods and services.  Tangible goods are created using natural resources which are scarce.  This scarcity results in those resources having a specific value and a specific cost incurred by the person producing those goods and services.  If there is no financial incentive to create those goods - i.e., the producer is not entitled to fruits of his labor - those goods will not be produced.  Software, in fact, all digital IP, is not subject to these constraints, because it is not scarce in any way.

        Likewise, if there is no financial incentive to learn the skills necessary to perform a service that requires a significant amount of education, creating software for example, those skills will  not be learned.  Linux Torvalds and Alan Cox both spent a good number of years and money learning software engineering.  In fact, virtually all the big projects in the Free Software world - Linux, Apache, Perl, Samba, etc - were initiated by expert software engineers.  There are thousands of poorly written applications in the Free Software world that were written by those with no formal training in software engineering.  Virtually no one uses, or has even heard of, these programs.

        So even the examples you cite were in no way free.  Torvalds and Cox both have high-paying jobs that allow them to work on Linux.  Both of them made significant financial investments in learning their craft.

        "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography." -- Ambrose Bierce

        by Libertarialoon on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 09:15:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I stand by my point (none)
          You cite mitigating factors, in the software industry, that are the reason why the quote of yours that I excerpted didn't qualify as the universal postulate that you seemed to be implying.

          Yes, there's a lot of training that goes into coding. I know... I've been doing it for over 20 years myself. Much of what I learned, though, I learned without expectation of monetary reward, even though that may have come later (and it often didn't).
          I suspect that this is true of many endeavors: playing a musical instrument, writing poetry, doing various forms of scientific research... or volunteering time to a political campaign. At various points in my life I've become interested in one facet of the world or another, whether painting, or negotiation & conflict resolution, or software, or history, or politics, or psychology... and I've pursued those things whether there was a profit in it. Sometimes they've been applicable to having more fulfilling friendships and relationships, which are non-renumerative.

          Do some people do these things for profit or for expectation of reward? Certainly. Do some people do this out of pure love and intellectual curiosity? Yeah, they do. Even if they are hard to master. Even if they require a significant amount of education.  

          The fact that people dedicate time and resources to pursue these kinds of activities can contradicts your argument rather than bolstering it.

          And, no, nothing is "free". I'm familiar with Newton's Laws. Still, there are values that people hold that go way beyond profit motive. And, no, I'm not saying that profit motive is inconsiderable, either.

          "I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."
          George Washington

          by Malacandra on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 04:58:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  aoeu (none)
        Actually Linux gets plenty of paid contributors.  So does Apache.  In the begining it was donated labor, and labor as a result of school/grad projects, but now there is significant paid contributions from companies like IBM Intel and AMD.

        The turtle told John
        that W is for wrong.
        Kerry listened well.

        by TealVeal on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 11:10:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's true. (none)
          And sex gets plenty of customers.

          Some people do it for love, though. :D

          "I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."
          George Washington

          by Malacandra on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 05:02:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site