[ox-en] Re: Information vs. material production
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 22:01:20 +0100
2 weeks (14 days) ago Marco Ermini wrote:
On Sat, 22 Dec 2001 11:29:27 [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED], Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de> wrote:
Imagine a situation where the Evernet is reality. Where you're mobile
PDA is able to get the content that you want out of the air right at
the moment you need it. IMHO this vision is not that far BTW. At this
point at least your personal copy of an information good is only
represented by the presence or absence of a number of electrons in the
RAM of your PDA - dissolving when you switch of the current. In this
situation would you say, that the digital information is a feature of
the RAM? Sorry, that simply makes no sense to me - i.e. I see no point
where this view of things leads to anything useful.
You don't have to look just at the "manufacts" when you speak about "goods".
If every group of electrons was equal, I agree that they have no role in
estabilishing a "cost" for a "good" since they was not a "good". But you
choose what informations you would like to watch on your PDA and this
informations come after a work by some humans: they reached the news, they
typed it on a keyboard, they used a telecommunication service (which is
definitively a "good" since it may costs very much money) to transmit the
information to your PDA. In an era of overhelming and redundant informations
everywhere, a good group of electrons may be an effective good to pay for.
Ahm... I looked back through the archive to find out what my quote was
an answer to. Actually it was a discussion whether it is useful to
look at software as a material product. I feel this is not what you're
talking about, but may misunderstand something. Anyway.
Meanwhile BTW I heard one of the talks from our conference last year
and Peter Gerwinski made a nice point explaining that information is
basically the opposite of entropy (roughly - I'm not a physicist). So
the point above is basically that the entropy of the electrons in the
RAM is lowered by the infomation.
Well, if I understand you right, you're saying that it may need human
effort to reduce entropy / create information. Sure. And the result is
clearly a good - or a commodity if it is produced for exchange. I
tried to make the point, that it is not a *material* good - just
reduced entropy which may be embodied by a number of means.
In Fordism standardization of a product drove prices down, because it
made it easier to mechanize the production. The silly machines were
not able to produce other things than standardized ones and to reduce
the amount of human labor you needed to mechanize and thus to
standardize. In our discussion the most interesting feature of modern
machines / robots is, however, that they *are* able to produce highly
customized / individual products.
And infact, we may be in a "Fordist" or "post-Fordist" era or whatever, the
things you pay for is human work.
But BTW there are a number of cases of human work / effort where you
do not pay for. The feminist movement raised that point and still it
is an important one.
Software is a "good" with a cost, as a
burned CD or a car. A software may be "gratis" only when there are other
things you pay for, like business services, customizations, support etc.
That's not true. You may just make software available - period. No
need for payed business services, customizations, support, etc.
Sure software has a cost in the sense that you need some resources to
produce it. However, the most important resource is your brain and
other software to make the development possible. But other hobbies
have costs, too, and people are doing them all the time. A German
study showed, that most Free Software developers work as little as ten
hours a week in Free Software projects. That's something a person with
a job usually can easily spent to a hobby.
Mit Freien Grüßen
Unread: 23 [ox], 9 [ox-en]