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Barriers to "Star Trek" economy

Monday, March 27, 2006

An interesting post from the Adam Smith Blog:
In an article in the current Business newspaper I examine how people increasingly expect goods to be free. From matches given away in restaurants and bars, we have been through free downloads and even free DVD movies given away with daily and Sunday newspapers. Skype has given us free telephone calls around the world. Many people, especially young people, prefer to read newspapers and magazines free over the internet. It leads to a new type of economy. It does lead to a rethink. If people are receiving the goods free, the price element of competition diminishes, and those of quality and convenience probably increase. It isn't quite a Star Trek economy where food and appliances come free from the replicator, but it's on the way to somewhere we haven't been.
Over at wise-nano, you will find an essay written by Giulio Prisco, titled “Globalization and Open Source Nano Economy”, in which he argued:
"Basic goods should be free, or priced within the means of everyone. In other words, Coca Cola can be expensive, but water must be free. Armani suits can be expensive, but basic clothing must be free. Who will develop royalty-free MDL descriptions of basic goods that everyone on the planet can use? The answer, I think (or at least I hope), is that they will be developed with an Open Source development model by armies of MDL programmers."
Hear hear! And Nanotech can make that happen. But for the near-term, we must get rid of bad laws that prevent open-source. In India, copyright relinquishment must undergo tight process like giving written notice to copyright registraar. In many other states, you cannot just append "Attribution, Non Commercial, Share alike"* to your writing as an indication of license as in their laws, "copyright license" must be written and signed by both parties.
These laws won't work after MNT is discovered. Even today, ther already become serious impediment to the economy. They will have to be rewritten. Immidiately.
Mohamad Mova Al 'Afghani
* In Creative Commons, that means a work can be copied freely given that the copier sufficiently attribute the work to original author, in a manner prescribed by him. Noncommercial means that people may not use the work for commercial purposes. Share Alike means any alteration of the work can be distributed under an identical license.