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Re: Conservation Laws, Money, Engines, and Ontology
Wouldn't the model fit reality better if it were based on biological
analogies instead of the raw physics of energy?
I recognize there's a desire here to put some controls on one's own
equipment ("I don't want to receive spam if I don't want to") and that
physics provides the conceptual lever to argue in favor of the desired
controls. Biological systems are a poor choice for grained control by
people who like to change their minds.
But the Internet really is more like an ecology with its own complex
notion of "emergent order" than a simple physical process that must
obey conservation laws in some narrow fashion. Trees obey physical
conservation laws, but they don't exchange micropayments with soil,
air, and Sun to ensure the balance is preserved. As things get out of
balance, trees die. Other entities flourish.
I can't imagine the mechanism by which very precise access charging
and cost recovery mechanisms would replace the current "free" model.
As we all know, it's not really "free." Information is published and
made available because the vendor needs to distribute it and finds the
Internet to be a cheap way to make it available. Many vendors
exchange information and entertainment for your attention to a
commercial message. As long as there are unmetered 'Net resources (and
they're unmetered for a plethora of reasons) you'll never get rid of
I think you have to choose between the relatively lawless open world
or an enclave where you bar the door with your favorite security
measures. You allow spam as long as you allow uninvited guests. And
what is cypherpunks but a continuous party of uninvited guests?
Regarding these micropayment machines, I think it would be interesting
to identify some existing, widely used, real world analogues to them:
how big/small are individual transactions, how much money can you
securely collect, how much does the mechanism cost to deploy and
maintain, how hard is it to attack, etc. Gumball machines? Pop
machines? Pay phones? I'm not sure there *is* a real world analogue.
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