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Re: NGOs and the Indulgence Racket (was re: Compulsory licensesandaccess to essential medicines NGO-sponsored meeting in Geneva, March26,1999)
Just to be clear, I think that financial cryptography and encryption on
ubiquitous geodesic networks creates a world where, in the long run,
intellectual "property" is worthless, especially on the nets themselves.
In a sort of hyper-Coasian view of the world, I think that events will show
that if it's on my hard drive, and it's encrypted so that only I can use
it, that's about as "property" as you can make something. :-).
Couple that with digital bearer cash, which exists because it's cheaper,
not because it's anonymous (in order to go fast you have to fly, in other
words), and the ability to spend that money directly with anyone on the
net, you get a world where bits which do or mean things are auctioned,
without much private law, much less legislation, recursively, across the
net, directly or through multiple intermediaries, from the person who put
those bits together first to the person who uses those bits last.
Given the cost of storing and moving bits, and my hoped-for reduction in
transaction cost brought about by digital bearer cash and microcash
transaction technology, I expect that we may even be looking at *one*-time
use of those bits with deletion. Yet, the odd thing is, in this scenario,
the people who do the new stuff are going to get the most money, even more
than they do now in, say, the software or entertainment business. Again,
without much private law, much less legislation.
Somewhere, in the bowels of that vituperative screed, was that particular
What I was castigating was the silliness (or downright eeee-villl :-)) of
passing laws and then poking holes in them at the same time for your
As for Mr. Hallam-Baker's panglossian belief that the government he was
raised in is the best of all possible regimes, that's okay, we forgive him.
Like what Anne Richards once said about George Bush's silver spoon, Phill
was just born that way. :-).
Hell, I, for one, like him anyway, from our meetings in person, though he,
like a few other people we know :-), is an acquired taste on the net.
Phill's a founder of DCSB, and has even spoken there once, on short notice,
covering for someone who was ill. No accounting for friendship, I guess.
Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
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