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RE: GPL & commercial software, the critical distinction (fwd)



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At 05:28 AM 10/2/98 -0500, Brown, R Ken wrote:
> Nonsense. Most of those businesses became monopolies - or
> local monopolies - in the relatively unregulated 1880-1914
> period. 

Untrue:

> In some of them - like rail or oil in the USA - governments
> introduced regulation to *force* competition. 

In the case of the railways, the governments granted and
imposed monopolies.  In the case of oil, I assume you are
referring to "Standard Oil", there was no monopoly, and the
government regulation had little apparent effect. 

Also the Standard Oil issue was about refineries, not oil
wells or oil pipelines.  There was nothing to prevent any man
or his dog from setting up a refinery, and lots of them did.

> In UK over the last 30 years government  has  used a thing 
> called the "Monopolies and Mergers Commission" to
> investigate & (very occasionally) break up monopolies or
> cartels. 

This is like arguing that the existence of witch burning
proves the existence of witches.

> Recently government has forcibly broken up gas supply
> monopolies in this country.  

After first forcibly creating gas supply monopolies.

> What happens much more often is that one company becomes
> dominant and then uses money to undersell rivals.

Why don't you argue that they conduct sacrifices to Satan?

A big company has no monetary advantage over a small company.

Suppose Firm A controls 90% of the market and firm B controls
10% of the market.  Artificially low prices cost the big firm
nine times as much as the small firm.  Under capitalism, the
small company can duke it out on equal terms with the big
firm, and with great regularity, that is exactly what they
do.

> Garbage (what we call rubbish over here) collection  is
> different again. It's not at all a nutural monopoly and
> there is nothing stopping anyone offering to do it as a
> business. But it is a natural for social ownership,

You mistake the political adventures of your local elite for
universal laws.  In some parts of the world rubbish
collection is private.  In other parts of the world shoe
production is public.

In one of those nordic countries, I think Finland, the phone
system was never made a public enterprise or state regulated
monopoly, but most other things were.

There is no "natural monopoly" that is not somewhere a
private industry, and often it is a private industry in a
place that is otherwise quite socialist.  Public and private
ownership reflect the accidents of politics and history more
than they reflect the natural characteristics of the industry
in dispute.

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         James A. Donald
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We have the right to defend ourselves and our property, because 
of the kind of animals that we are. True law derives from this 
right, not from the arbitrary power of the omnipotent state.


http://www.jim.com/jamesd/      James A. Donald