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[ox-en] Rival vs. Anti-Rival, or Type vs. Instance

On Jan 23, 2008 1:30 AM, Michael Bauwens <michelsub2003> wrote:
I guess it would be most useful to hold a view of a polarity between
totally rival goods and totally anti-rival goods.

Hello Michel and all,

This is my second post to the Oekonux list; the first was during the
last part of 2003.

I would like to discuss what appears to be an almost universal
confusion about the nature of reality itself that causes us to think
rivalry (finiteness) is limited to certain *TYPES* of things (such as
a loaf of bread or a washing machine), while we simultaneously
mistakenly believe other things (such as movies and software) have no
rivalry whatsoever.

Whether software or bread, everything is infinite (non-rivalrous) in
potential, yet realistically constrained (rivalrous) in it's

A movie is obviously non-rivalrous in that the number of potential
copies is infinite, but it is also constrained by the rivalrous space,
time, mass and energy required to create, use, modify, copy and share
it.  It is common to brush off these hosting costs as being
'marginal', but if they are so unimportant, why don't we just start a
video hosting site today to replace YouTube?  Can we really pretend
the warehouses of servers Google pays for are not physical
constraints?  And it doesn't end there.  That movie cannot be utilized
unless it is copied, which of course takes time, and consumes physical
resources including the twisted-copper, fiber optics or satellite
hardware (mass) to transmit it, and a local computer (more mass) and
electricity (energy) and even land (space) to house these things.

Similarly, once the mechanical design of a washing machine (the type)
has been created by an engineer, what are the potential number of
washing machines (instances) that can be produced (how many times may
it be copied)?  The design is just as infinite in potential
(non-rivalrous) as the movie, yet is also constrained by space, time,
mass and energy again.

Wheat is actually just a design (DNA or genetics) that has been
'applied' to the Mass called 'dust' or 'clay' or 'sand', and the Mass
called 'water' using a little bit of space (land) and some SUN for
energy.  The farmer and breadmaker apply their own designs as they
harvest, thresh, grind, mix, knead, bake and cut to specialize that
mass into a finished product.

But software also requires Mass for storage (a hard-drive, CD, DVD,
RAM, even paper or your brain if you have not yet entered it into a
computer) and a physical input device (such as a keyboard or
microphone) for creation and an output device (such as a monitor or
speakers) for "expression".  This Mass also requires it's own Space to
exist and of course software has little value if it can't be
"expressed" by temporarily applying that design to a completed
computer components using electricity for energy.

While the time and personal energy (labor) needed to copy a grain of
wheat appears to be much more than downloading a copy of a program and
running it, if we factor in all the resources required to manufacture
the hardware and supply the electricity as compared to allowing nature
to propagate the seed, it may not be as much of a difference as we

In summary, even though different TYPES of things require different
AMOUNTS of physical resources for their production, the fact remains
that all things have infinite potential, and all things are
realistically constrained by space, time, mass and energy.

Patrick Anderson
President, Personal Sovereignty Foundation
Contact: projekt

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