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Thread: Would a free and open-source economy work?

  1. #1
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    Would a free and open-source economy work?

    What if the entire world adopts a free and open-source system, would such a system work? Is such a system sustainable in the long run?

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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    Moved to the Cafe. This has nothing to do with Ubuntu, Linux or other OSes.

    No. People like me like to eat, have nice cars, live in a big house, and walk out to the back yard to take a dip in my swimming pool. I like to do that while minimizing the amount of my time it takes me to meet the resource requirements of that lifestyle. (In sociological rather than monetary terms, this is called "affluence". Some very poor people are "affluent" if the ratio of leisure time to work time required to reach the desired level of leisure time is high. There are still hunter/gatherer populations whose "work" time nets a great deal of leisure time if their environment is rich enough to suit their needs easily). My desired level of leisure takes an amount of resources that differs from what others may have, which means that to achieve "affluence" I must place a value on my own time that is greater than what others might place on their own. That is not to say I lack social conscience. Mrs. QIII and I are quite happy to generously provide out of our good fortune a great deal to those who are less fortunate and we do so.

    For some, no matter how hard they work, success is elusive. Thus, a nice lifestyle is hard to achieve. For still others, very little effort (even sloth) nets enough resources to have a lavish lifestyle. That would not change in your "free and open-source economy". The same groups would exist.

    Rather than a "free and open-source economy" (by which I assume you mean the community interchange of goods and services of like value between parties without the artifice of "money"), I think an ideal world would be one where people can achieve success to different degrees and enjoy the fruit of their labor, but that those who are successful would possess a sufficient measure of humanity to be kind to others in need. In fact, I think that success demands kindness of the successful to those in need.

    PLEASE NOTE: This might turn out to be an interesting discussion and it would be nice if it could continue. So for those who may post in this thread: if it drifts to the political, this thread will be closed.
    Last edited by QIII; August 12th, 2017 at 08:02 AM.
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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    Depends on what you mean by "free and open-source system"? IMHO, you left out an important part of the requirement - "Libre."

    OSS isn't sufficient. For China and Russia, Microsoft Windows is OSS. They are allowed to look at the source.

    FOSS isn't sufficient. Just because you didn't pay and can look at the code, doesn't mean you have the other freedoms that BSD, MIT, GNU, Perl and other F/LOSS licenses provide.

    F/LOSS is where all the freedoms come together. We get the source (as in a beer recipe). We don't have to pay for the recipe (at least not much). We are allowed, no encouraged, to share and modify the recipe. By sharing and modifying it, many different modifications are possible. Some are better, some are worse, some are just different. In theory, the different modifiers would share and incrementally improve a few different lines.

    In theory.

    But there are issues. What happens if nobody wants to be a dairy farmer, or clean septic tanks, or work in nuclear waste industries?

    The capitalistic system rewards people for doing hazardous, difficult or nasty tasks by paying them more. For example, if I work in the USA as a Linux admin, I'm paid $X. If that same role happens in the middle east - say Dubai, then I'm probably paid $1.5X due to the limited labor pool within the skillset and trying to convince me to relocate. There are many other examples.

    Creating software has a fairly low barrier to entry - a $50 used laptop. Creating physical items requires logistics, modification of the process inputs, people making "widgets" don't do it for the fun.

    So I'm back to the "what do you mean" question.

    None of the current systems is anywhere near perfect. It is about having the least evil system.

  4. #4
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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    Quote Originally Posted by QIII View Post
    Moved to the Cafe. This has nothing to do with Ubuntu, Linux or other OSes.

    No. People like me like to eat, have nice cars, live in a big house, and walk out to the back yard to take a dip in my swimming pool. I like to do that while minimizing the amount of my time it takes me to meet the resource requirements of that lifestyle. (In sociological rather than monetary terms, this is called "affluence". Some very poor people are "affluent" if the ratio of leisure time to work time required to reach the desired level of leisure time is high. There are still hunter/gatherer populations whose "work" time nets a great deal of leisure time if their environment is rich enough to suit their needs easily). My desired level of leisure takes an amount of resources that differs from what others may have, which means that to achieve "affluence" I must place a value on my own time that is greater than what others might place on their own. That is not to say I lack social conscience. Mrs. QIII and I are quite happy to generously provide out of our good fortune a great deal to those who are less fortunate and we do so.

    For some, no matter how hard they work, success is elusive. Thus, a nice lifestyle is hard to achieve. For still others, very little effort (even sloth) nets enough resources to have a lavish lifestyle. That would not change in your "free and open-source economy". The same groups would exist.

    Rather than a "free and open-source economy" (by which I assume you mean the community interchange of goods and services of like value between parties without the artifice of "money"), I think an ideal world would be one where people can achieve success to different degrees and enjoy the fruit of their labor, but that those who are successful would possess a sufficient measure of humanity to be kind to others in need. In fact, I think that success demands kindness of the successful to those in need.

    PLEASE NOTE: This might turn out to be an interesting discussion and it would be nice if it could continue. So for those who may post in this thread: if it drifts to the political, this thread will be closed.
    I applaud you sir for being generous and kind to the poor, I wish everyone was like you.

    In our current form of economy, greed is king unfortunately, so the 'success demands kindness of the successful to those in need' does not bode well to capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    Depends on what you mean by "free and open-source system"? IMHO, you left out an important part of the requirement - "Libre."

    OSS isn't sufficient. For China and Russia, Microsoft Windows is OSS. They are allowed to look at the source.

    FOSS isn't sufficient. Just because you didn't pay and can look at the code, doesn't mean you have the other freedoms that BSD, MIT, GNU, Perl and other F/LOSS licenses provide.

    F/LOSS is where all the freedoms come together. We get the source (as in a beer recipe). We don't have to pay for the recipe (at least not much). We are allowed, no encouraged, to share and modify the recipe. By sharing and modifying it, many different modifications are possible. Some are better, some are worse, some are just different. In theory, the different modifiers would share and incrementally improve a few different lines.

    In theory.

    But there are issues. What happens if nobody wants to be a dairy farmer, or clean septic tanks, or work in nuclear waste industries?

    The capitalistic system rewards people for doing hazardous, difficult or nasty tasks by paying them more. For example, if I work in the USA as a Linux admin, I'm paid $X. If that same role happens in the middle east - say Dubai, then I'm probably paid $1.5X due to the limited labor pool within the skillset and trying to convince me to relocate. There are many other examples.

    Creating software has a fairly low barrier to entry - a $50 used laptop. Creating physical items requires logistics, modification of the process inputs, people making "widgets" don't do it for the fun.

    So I'm back to the "what do you mean" question.

    None of the current systems is anywhere near perfect. It is about having the least evil system.
    Well, based on what I've read, capitalism might not be sustainable. According to the World Economic Forum, by the 2020s, a lot of jobs will be automated and that will continue until there will be no more jobs, at least, for 99% of the world's population, the 1% is the scientists, engineers and IT guys, but only having the 1% have jobs isn't enough to sustain capitalism, because capitalism only works when money flows, but when money only flows through that 1%, then money cannot really exist. So, we need a new form of economy, one that will benefit everyone.
    Last edited by ardouronerous; August 12th, 2017 at 09:23 PM.

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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    Guess I don't have the same level of pessimism as others about humans. We are pretty crafty. There is always something that 1 human can accomplish that another either can't or won't do. Always.

    But I still don't understand what you mean by a FOSS economy.

  6. #6
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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    A free and open-source economy would foster unity amongst all people.
    Imagine this, what if someone develops a cure for the common cold or even cancer? What if someone develops a way to solve our food storage?

    In a FOSS economy, these solutions will be open to the public, anyone can recreate the solutions and distribute it to everyone that needs it, as long as the GNU General Public License is followed.

    Like Captain Picard says, "The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century.... The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity."

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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    Someone who develops a cure for cancer will surely expect to profit. They would deserve it. If people were not rewarded for such, they'd not do it.

    Capitalism can't survive? It has for as long as we have. Since the time when we began writing, thus being able pass on our history, capitalism has existed. It's not new. We pretty much have it down pat. It persists through disaster and famine.

    In your 2020 scenario, either the 99% would starve (which happens when available resources are scarce) or they would revolt, throw down the techno world, and probably end up starting overvas hunter/gatherers. Unfortunately, most would still starve until resources matched demand. Those left over in either case would just carry on wanting to profit from their work. Capitalism would result.
    Last edited by QIII; August 13th, 2017 at 03:25 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    The revolt that you are talking about has happened already, it's called the Luddite revolution, the Luddites were English textile workers and weavers in the 19th century who destroyed weaving machinery fearing that these machines would replace them, but unfortunately, their revolution failed and many lost their jobs to the weaving machines.

    A solution is being discussed, and that is universal guaranteed income, were everyone gets a monthly or yearly guaranteed income.

  9. #9
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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    Here's a video explaining this scenario:


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    Re: Would a free and open-source economy work?

    So basically, you want to end all patents and copyrights. AND force everyone to release their processes without compensation.

    Is that correct?

    What do people do who aren't interested in making their own beer, but just drinking it after someone else brews it? Should beer be provided without compensation? What if they want 12 yr old Scotch? Should they get that for free too?



    Star Trek is just a TV show. Plus, the Ferengi are capitalists.

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