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Some off topic (not directly open source related) links.

I intend to keep the political stuff within very small limits because it probably does not meet the SourceForge charter for this site. I intend to "bookmark" a few interesting links (possibly stuff that I have not read but might like to).

See AboutThesePages.



  • Mislaid American Rights, I. Introduction, The Sceptic | 04Jun1998 -- not read -- I skimmed the Principle of Property, but should read it (it's short enough, I was just in a hurry)

  • Nuclear Nightmares; 26 May 2002; Bill Keller -- an article about the potential for nuclear terrorism -- could be hard to prevent in some form

  • Rent-Seeking, Public Choice, and The Prisoner's Dilemma -- keywords: Nash equilibrium, the tit for tat strategy seemed to the best in an electronic competition which reinforces things like an eye for an eye and forgiveness -- suggesting that those who pay attention to "doing their job" (in some sense) do better than those who try to hoodwink their fellow man -- quote (on a different point):

Many people can be taxed only a small amount and then a small number of people can be given large sums. This means that the many hardly notice the wealth that they have lost, while the few become active partisans of their own benefits. Politicians hear nothing from the many and a lot from the few, who also have some money to contribute to the politicians, money that may actually be, or be freed up by, the benefits they receive -- like the money teachers' unions get from compulsory union dues, from the money paid by the government to teachers. Thus, constituencies and interest groups are created for each particular political benefit program, and it becomes nearly impossible to get rid of them. The rent-seeking aspect of this is that the beneficiaries receive rents on the basis of their participation in the interest group. They benefit because of who they are, not because of what they do or what they own in a more conventional sense.

Globalization and Jobs

  • The New Global Job Shift; Business Week Online; 3 Feb 2003 -- "The next round of globalization is sending upscale jobs offshore. They include basic research, chip design, engineering--even financial analysis. Can America lose these jobs and still prosper? Who wins? Who loses?"

  • Trade and Dislocation; Stephen J. Turnbull -- This is relevant to the above and looks like it's worth reading -- I opened it in Konqueror and it did not wrap to my window width so I set it aside without finishing it

Public vs. Private Ownership

(for lack of a better category for the following)

from Thomas M Hughes (463951) on Slashdot (the interesting paragraph is the third one (the second after the quoted paragraph))

Now, what strikes me is that usually a government-owned venture is nowhere near as competitive as the private sector. The real question here is why the heck private companies are charging so much more than these quasi-governmental companies.

I would imagine this venture is more competitive then the huge telecommunications companies, since a town of 14,000 people makes it a whole lot easier to complain to the very upper levels of management whenever its not working right or there is a better solution. Not to mention that the customer base can do more then just "vote with their wallet", they can vote with their ballot, and have referendums to completely alter how the system is managed if it gets out of hand. Besides, even if there was a private set of ventures in this area, they would need to do everything that this small government has done, plus charge a percentage "profit" amount, which will always give the well run government agency an advantage in terms of price over the well run private corporation.

The key word is "well run", which is something that both private companies and governments have trouble doing, especially on large scales. Private companies are immune from having inane and pointless structures that cause tons of waste, just because they're private. The market isn't magical, and it doesn't just fix this. The private sphere and the public sphere both boil down to people, and their motives. If their motives are corrupt (Private corruption "Lets bilk the entire population for everything they've got and we'll be filthy rich!" or Public "Lets just stay in office forever, and never change, I don't like change") then the result will be corrupt. However, if either have good intentions (Private "Lets offer a good product at a decent price, and make a living off of it" or Public "Lets provide something good for the public, to improve their lives") and they allow those intentions to guide them, the outcome isn't usually horrific. No one meaning well intentionally screws over the people they're trying to help.

I think the key to this is the size of the endeavor. A small business that knows its customer base intimately will be much more sensitive to their needs and demands. A large one that must meet a projected profit every quarter will be willing to sacrifice them in order to stay in good with the stock market. Similarly, a large government (ie, Federal in the US) will lose track of its vision in all its complex infighting. However, for a small city to do something like this? They're not going to set up a government endeavor just to screw themselves, since 14,000 people isn't a population worth exploiting to that degree.

To summarize after all that rambling: public ownership is not always evil and inefficient, nor is private ownership always good and effective. Find a balance for the situation that provides the best outcome for society. Its not always going to be the market.

The Internet

A joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, and University of Maine law school clinics.

Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you.


  • Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: Grandiose Schemes for Electronic Eavesdropping May Hurt More Than They Help; Robert X. Cringely; 10 July 2003 — backdoors (hackability) and other problems with equipment created to support the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)


  • RandyKramer - 18 Jan 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>
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