Re: [OPE-L] OpenSource: a "new source of communism"

From: Paul Adler (padler@USC.EDU)
Date: Thu Dec 27 2007 - 12:03:43 EST

A few thoughts on this topic:
1. we do have data on the proportion of computer-related equipment in
total stock of machinery and equipment -- and it has grown
enormously, reaching about half by 2006 (according to http://
  (The empirical analysis gets complicated because it is so hard to
get decent quality-adjustments to computer-equipment prices.)
2.  The proportion of software that is legally free is, I'm guessing,
very small. ("Open source" is a major force in only a few small
segments of the industry.) However piracy is a big factor: at the low
end, some 21% of operating system software is apparently pirated in
the US, and at the high end, some 72% in India and 86% in China (I'm
not sure how much credence to give the specific figures, but see
3. The main idea, I think, is that the forces of production (most
notably software, but other segments too) evolve in a direction
("socialization") that makes private property rights (a) increasingly
difficult to enforce, and (b) increasingly wasteful from a social-
welfare point of view (given the low or zero costs of reproduction
and dissemination).

On Dec 27, 2007, at 8:40 AM, Paul Cockshott wrote:

> Quoting glevy@PRATT.EDU:
> Perhaps I should have said 'significant' not major there. I will
> try and get an
> estimate for the first question. It is inherently hard to estimate
> this since
> free software will not be counted in any capital stock. And when
> one asks what
> percentage of software is free, what is ones unit of measurement?
> Is it the amount of lines of code?
> Is it the usage of the software?
> Is it the number of distinct programs?
>>> 1. Free software is a major part of the means of production.
>> Hi Paul:
>> Major or minor but growing?
>> * What percentage of the total means
>> of production would you
>> estimate software
>> as a whole to be?
>> * What percentage
>> of the total amount
>> of  software is free?
>> In
>> solidarity, Jerry
> Paul Cockshott
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Paul S. Adler,
Prof. of Management and Organization
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA
Tel: 818.981.0115

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