[OPE-L:7614] re: value of information

From: Paul Cockshot (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Fri Sep 06 2002 - 08:07:09 EDT

----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: Re: [OPE-L:7594] Re: Value of information
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 12:31:04 +0100
From: Paul Cockshot <paul@cockshott.com>
To: glevy@pop-b.pratt.edu

On Wednesday 04 September 2002 23:13, glevy@pop-b.pratt.edu wrote:
> Paul C asks:
> > What is the value of information?
> > More particularly what is the value of software?
> On your last question:  shouldn't your question be -- what
> determines the RENT for software?  If software sellers receive a rent
> for theire commodities, then what determines the SIZE of the rent?

Something analogous to rent is clearly involved. But it generally
does not take the form of rent directly - i.e., a payment per annum
for use of the software. Instead there is a one off cost of purchase
which exceeds the cost of producing that copy of the software.

What differentiates this from classic rent though, is that unlike land,
software is a product of labour. It is possible, and indeed is conventional
to cost a software development project in terms of person years.
One must therefore differentiate between the value of the information -
in terms of the effort required to write the software, and the
price that each individual copy commands.

> A related issue is rent AVOIDANCE re software. E.g. public domain
> 'free' software where the software doesn't take the commodity-form
> and 'theft' of software by 'illegal' copying.
>  It seems to me that
> the STATE is required to enforce the payment of rent to software
> companies (and there are some interesting struggles among states
> over enforcement of software 'proprietary rights'. E.g. between the US and
> the PRC over software copying.

To an extent the state is required to do this for all rents. It is
just that software rents are easier to escape.

An interesting issue here is the extent to which free software
may prefigure a directly social form of production.


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