Should Information Be Free?

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23 Oct 2019 16:08 #344762 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Should Information Be Free?

Gisteron wrote: What if a team of researchers is comprised of individuals from different countries? Should each state involved be subsidizing their respective researcher from each of the countries' respective taxes? What of the profits, should each country profit in proportion to the quantity and quality of contributors they provided for the collaboration? So the suggestion seems to entail that the different countries both cooperate with and compete against one another in the very same project. I'm not sure that sounds very healthy... Besides, how do we force each government involved to play by the same rules without compromising their individual sovereignty in so doing? And if one of them refuses, must it be excluded from the global scientific enterprise? Is there any reason this might be either a necessary or a desirable thing?



I think the R&D facility should pay whoever they invite to participate. As the hosting facility it simply follows the same rules. If the country of origin of those members wants the research they would have to pay for it just like if one of their people went to work at a foreign corporation. People get paid to do research. That doesn't mean they, individually, own it. If you're getting paid to do something, that thing is generally owned by whoever's paying you.

Other countries would be free to host their own research and this is also where you could have competition that yields better results. Different companies could have competing licenses for the same technology/drug/etc. but who would buy the inferior license? If it was cheaper, perhaps. but straight duplication would be more expensive than licensing the results while licensing fees could be competitive and have a positive effect on making the information less expensive to license; especially over time.

Already, there are a lot of countries that don't necessarily play by rules of intellectual property rights. No matter what you do they're probably going to try and exploit any system. We would need international courts where companies could be sued and as a result of suits, those companies can be barred from doing business internationally. You could try to enforce it even inside their own country but you have to be willing to sanction their governments for noncompliance. And that's a political calculation.

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23 Oct 2019 21:50 #344775 by Rex
Replied by Rex on topic Should Information Be Free?

CaesarEJW wrote: To put it simply, I believe I am thoroughly out of my element on the subject, so naturally my opinion would be of little value.

That's refreshingly honest

This kind of discussion does impact people (more than they'd realize at any rate), so it's important to try and understand it better

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ὁ δὲ ἀμυχηδόν νεξέταστος βίος γίγνομαι βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
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23 Oct 2019 22:52 #344777 by Omhu Cuspor
I am with Bridge and Rex on this topic. The original providers of information should be compensated for their work in discovering and compiling that information, even if it is life saving. A researcher who spends years discovering, say, a universal cure for all cancer doesn't deserve to starve from the effort to publish a miracle sure. Of course, there's a moral argument to be made that s/he also shouldn't charge $10,000 for each copy of a life-saving book that could help desperate people.

I tend not to be aligned with the idea that for personal use information should be free, but consumers of information who use it to turn a profit must pay. It's too easy for Honest John to deceptively say "I'll take the book for free, thanks, just for my personal use," and then develop something from that information that makes his fortune. Or, maybe Honest John keeps his promise, but hands down the book to his heirs, who - unbound by any promise - make a fortune with it themselves.

That said ... there can be abuses in a for-pay system. Despite plagiarism laws, any number of people today read a book and republish the same material in their own words to make some money. That is unfair to the original publisher, imo. Other than enforcing copyrights, I don't have an idea off the top of my head to prevent this, but there must be one.

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24 Oct 2019 00:34 #344778 by OB1Shinobi

“As long as you feel that you are the most important thing in the world you cannot really appreciate the world around you. You are like a horse with blinders, all you see is yourself apart from everything else.”
-Don Juan Matus
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27 Oct 2019 18:27 #344890 by ren
Replied by ren on topic Should Information Be Free?
The advancement of humanity should not only be accessible to all, but be the responsibility of all.

Why do we have numerous mobile networks offering an overall patchy coverage? We pay twice as much to get something half as good. We could pay less, and by this I mean in terms of man hours, in terms of environmental costs, by switching to a single infrastructure.

The same strategy could easily apply to other areas, like education, research, environmental protection, etc.

Competition is great for personnal gain, rubbish for the greater good.

Someone will point out humans are greedy and that's why we flourish under a competitive system, yet we know, and have learned throughout history, that it only leads to spouts of growth followed by great declines, and that we will eventually run out of everything.


The world we live in prevents us from thinking any other way and quite frankly unless we train future generations to become completely different from us, it will never stop.

Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.
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28 Oct 2019 02:08 - 28 Oct 2019 02:11 #344903 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Should Information Be Free?
I think history represents something else entirely, and rather that it's not the system of competition which is the cause of that greed, but its a medium in which the greed is most safely contained to minimize the impact it can have. If history is anything, its evidence of the failed versions of humans trying to be social, and greed has been there the whole time. So, to me the current one seems to the best so far despite that it has enabled technological advancement so great it has afforded responsibility that might exceed human's capacity to act responsibility. But I think that is the definition of humanity, being able to exert our nature beyond itself. I don't reckon greed is the correct word for current systems anyway, more like consumption. Consumerism being dominance of greed over rational consumption. Funnily enough information is both the mechanism for people to be more rational in being consumers, but also more irrational because they have the freedom to choose what information to consume and self define what is rational. Perhaps its just another form of natural selection!?

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Last edit: 28 Oct 2019 02:11 by Adder. Reason: missed a word
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28 Oct 2019 04:01 - 28 Oct 2019 04:46 #344908 by OB1Shinobi

ren wrote: The advancement of humanity should not only be accessible to all, but be the responsibility of all.


I feel that this sentence alone could kickstart an entire thread. Morally, I think this is just obvious truth. But some serious problems emerge when we take this moral truth and try to ratify it into legal code. Theres been some very serious atrocity committed on the assertion that we’re all responsible for some grand and noble ideal. When we choose our own ideals then we have the capacity to be genuine heroes who live and die for what we see as the truth but when society decides what “the advancement of humanity” means and then demands via law that everyone contribute to that then its inevitable that we end up with tyranny. Society is never going to get it completely right and there has to be a huge margin of space wherein individuals are allowed to make decisions, even if those decisions seem contrary to what you might deem as “advancement of humanity”... or maybe we need very precise definitions?


Why do we have numerous mobile networks offering an overall patchy coverage? We pay twice as much to get something half as good. We could pay less, and by this I mean in terms of man hours, in terms of environmental costs, by switching to a single infrastructure.


Yes, absolutely. We’re living in a society where the wealthiest industries or individuals have the greatest influence on policy. The majority of our political leaders wouldnt be where they are if it werent for the financial support of major industries. Politicians make deals to look out for the industries that finance campaigns and industries finance the campaigns of politicians who are willing to draft pro-industry policies. This is crony-capitalism at work and we are absolutely locked into a crony-capitalist system, right now.



The same strategy could easily apply to other areas, like education, research, environmental protection, etc.


Im not arguing that youre wrong, im asking you to explain what you mean. You said “we could pay less” but you didnt explain how. Then you said we could apply this strategy to other areas... ok, what is the strategy?



Competition is great for personnal gain, rubbish for the greater good.


Competition has resulted in better athletes and better training protocols for every sport on the face of the earth. This created a more dynamic and nuanced game which results in the informed fans becoming even more excited by and dedicated to the sport. Competition had resulted in more powerful engines and more aerodynamic bodies for airplanes and automobiles, Better computers and more useful software, ships that can sail deeper into the ocean and watches that can better withstand the rain.

Lets go further back; competition is one of the fundamental elements of evolution. Every single one of us is alive as a result of the competition of our ancestors for territory, social status, and mates. Without competition how do we choose who does what? You have certain skills and knowledge about computers and programing and website design. I dont know even 1/100th of what you know about those topics. In a competitive world it matters that you know more and can do more than i can do in that field... in a non competitive world, it doesn't. We would be equals even though your knowledge and capabilities vastly exceed my own. Ultimately, competition improves individual components and the cumulative improvement of those individual components result in an improved greater good.


Someone will point out humans are greedy and that's l why we flourish under a competitive system,


Fair competition produces improved effectiveness within any given context. It has to; everyone is trying to win and so they have to get better at what theyre doing. Thats a kind of flourishing, isnt it? And anyway, its not just humans. Name me an animal society that thrives without any kind of competition. You cant because there isnt one.




yet we know, and have learned throughout history, that it only leads to spouts of growth followed by great declines,


But the growths produce more growth than the declines cause decline. Yes, theres been an up and down pattern to history but the trend is that it ultimately keeps moving up. Admittedly there is room to debate about what really counts as progress; fair enough. Im just going to say that we have been making steady progress since before the era when our ancestors lived in trees. We get bumped down sometimes (like the dark ages or nazi Germany and communist Russia) but overall we keep improving... so far, anyway.



and that we will eventually run out of everything.



Citation needed.



The world we live in prevents us from thinking any other way and quite frankly unless we train future generations to become completely different from us, it will never stop.



Yes, i am totally with you here. We have to hammer down exactly what our message is and we have to make it compelling to younger audiences. I think we need to build an intellectual construct that empowers people as individuals while also instilling a sense of community with an emphasis on political responsibility, skepticism of all claims, and a recognition of their/our capacity for personal bias. Help them not get caught up in self righteous condemnation of others and to see all of our different social factions as being not about good guys vs bad guys, but just about people expressing the ideas and realities that they know from their own lives. And a general sense that even though we are all different, we’re all in this thing together and we need to figure how to build a society that allows us all to flourish. If we could pass this on to the next generation it make a WORLD of difference.

“As long as you feel that you are the most important thing in the world you cannot really appreciate the world around you. You are like a horse with blinders, all you see is yourself apart from everything else.”
-Don Juan Matus
Last edit: 28 Oct 2019 04:46 by OB1Shinobi.

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28 Oct 2019 04:02 - 28 Oct 2019 04:18 #344909 by OB1Shinobi
Sorry, double post.

“As long as you feel that you are the most important thing in the world you cannot really appreciate the world around you. You are like a horse with blinders, all you see is yourself apart from everything else.”
-Don Juan Matus
Last edit: 28 Oct 2019 04:18 by OB1Shinobi.

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28 Oct 2019 16:15 #344934 by Tmattos93

ZealotX wrote:
Don't libraries buy their books?

"Libraries offer authors two things. They can buy their books, which nets the author some royalties. They can also offer exposure, allowing the author to gain a new audience who might buy their books the next time rather than just borrowing them. For libraries to survive, authors must keep creating books."

So basically, an author is getting compensated. It's not really free. And its the author's choice. They're not forced into it so basically they only do it if they think its a benefit in the long run. This is why a lot of books go to library after sales have slowed down just like movies go to video and eventually to TV. TV pays one time and millions of people get to watch it. Same thing.


Yeah, I would agree they buy the books more often then they receive donated books, but I'm speaking more in terms of being "free" for the general public, for the ones seeking information. Libraries themselves are institutions geared towards providing accessible information that people, for the most part, don't necessarily pay to get access to. When people go into a library, get their library card, and check out their books it isn't a service they pay for every time they visit or for every book they borrow. And again, each time a book is checked out there isn't necessarily money going back into the pocket of the author, so in a broad sense I would argue that the information is free to access. The avenue is open, it's just going to be up to one's own initiative to utilize it in their pursuit of knowledge.

If we wanna get literal, their is a cost of sorts for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING: time, energy and the like, lol. Gotta make time to read, and keep up the energy to perform the act itself!

Just to be clear, and my apologies if I didn't do so with my last post, I do think that the people who collect, organize, and distribute these sources of information should be fairly compensated for their time and efforts.

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28 Oct 2019 19:55 #344941 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Should Information Be Free?

ren wrote: Competition is great for personal gain, rubbish for the greater good.


I couldn't agree more.

It's easy to sort of look back on the things we have and credit them to capitalism, but this isn't a balanced view point as we don't really have a strong comparison. We look at communist countries and socialist countries and assume capitalism > everything else all the time. I don't think that's true at all. I think there's a tiny fraction of people who earn their wealth and capitalism works best for them and their ability to survive. But their ability to survive (using pure capitalism) has little to no impact on the ability of many low income wage earners to survive; except that there's less wealth to compete over after they get their share.

Imagine a foot race where the person with the slowest time gets their knee caps busted and isn't allowed to run in the next race. In each race Usain Bolt is almost guaranteed to be safe. You know who he is. He's famous. But what about the rest? Do you know who they are? They're not as fast but they're all faster than me. But judging them against each other you lose the sense of the relative difference between them and a couch potato. Part of the reason people like capitalism is because they want reward Usain Bolt and make sure couch potatoes don't somehow end up with a trophy.

The problem is that the race always works out in favor of the winner. The loser uses a lot of energy trying to win and still fails. After so many tries they may feel like they can't win and either give up or look for an easier way. Instead of doping, some people sell dope. In fact, I don't think anyone really has any idea how much cheating goes on at every level of business. After all, capitalism is about money. It's not about making friends or being a good person. A lot of businesses are laundry mats for drug money.

If capitalism was so fair and just then everyone would play by the rules and listen to coaches and refs the same way teams do in basketball. If it were me I would enact a universal basic income and reward the best technologies by giving subsidies and grants to companies who deserve it.

I would want everyone to finish the race and be okay enough to run the next one. The rich pay for elections, mostly because doing so benefits them. They act like referees when they basically bribe the refs and rule makers. And then we wonder why things are so skewed and how they get away without paying taxes. That doesn't work for the other 95% of us which tells me that when you put too much power in the hands of too few, the temptation of corrupt practices, is too strong to expect society to get the best benefit from it. We can clearly see this with taxation. Instead of paying their fair share they often hide their money in tax havens and bunch of loop holes. If that same wealth was divided more fairly then the government would have more tax income from which to provide services to those who can't afford them otherwise. And if you focused on making a system that combined capitalism and socialism with one limiting the other, you could find a balance that motivates those seeking fame and fortune as well as helps out those who can barely afford to participate in the economy.

I think we've learned a lot with "shareware" and "freemium" and "subscription" business models. Giving everyone basic access to "minimum specs of living" should be doable while charging people extra for premium and value added services. And if this means mega billionaires have to give up a lot of money I'm fine with that. The truth is its more to us than it really is to them.

And with capitalism, after a generation you lose the competitive benefits where money is thought to equal success or effort. This may have been true for pioneers but their children have a much easier time navigating and can use their trust funds to make investments and even fail in business enough times to learn what they need to do to succeed. That's fine if they have some advantage thanks to their parents. But it should be countered with another advantage, especially for the disadvantaged (by their parents), that if they have a good idea for a business a bank should be able to loan them money with 100% backing from the government.

Point is, its not impossible to do things differently and I think we need to imagine a different world or a world in which changes like these have already been made so that we know what to fight for. Because Billionaires aren't going to fight for it.

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