Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Economics, of information.  ---  .This section is about the economics of information.  Topics include: ( ) Free Software and Open Source.  ---  1/24/2006

Economics, of information.  ---  "Free today, pay tomorrow" websites are baloney (ex. fee based newspaper archives).  ---  12/12/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  (1) Access to information is a human right.  For that reason there should be a vast quantity of free information available to all people.  However, we should not require that some people not try to sell the books that they wrote, because I don't believe in pure communism just as I don't believe in pure capitalism.  But people who try to sell information should realize that whatever information they create and sell will, in approximately equal form, be created and given away free by the next person.  (2) Conceptually, the Internet has two parts, the free-information Internet and the pay-for-information Internet.  The Internet at heart is conducive to and geared toward free information.  If the pay-for-information side of the Internet fails then no big deal.  (3) The way the Internet is developing there will most likely be a free-information base-level and a pay-for-information convenience-level.  People will pay for conveniences such as formatting, printing, etc.  ---  12/17/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  (1) Free information movements (ex. Linux, GNU, FSF, OSF, public libraries and open societies) are perhaps the most democratic force in the world today.  Free information promotes justice.  Support the free information movement.     (2) Free information movements are one of the most compelling critiques of pure capitalism.  Pure capitalism is about closed, proprietary, fee-based systems.  Free information movements are about open, non-proprietary, free systems.  Free information movements make pure capitalism look antiquated in that pure capitalism is about physical stuff, not information, and we currently live in an increasingly information age.     (3) Physical stuff.  In regard to physical stuff, the long-term trend in physical stuff is toward less expensive, more abundant, more ecologically sustainable physical stuff.  And what those factors add up to is a situation akin to living in the forest, where things grow on trees in a self-sustaining ecological cycle.     (4) The last area to discuss, beyond information and physical stuff, is the realm of physical experiences.  For example, travel and various other services.     (5) To sum up, the economics of information is part of the economic study of three main areas: information, physical experiences and physical stuff.  ---  12/1/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Current.  (1) The new economy is information based.  It deals not just with information, but also entertainment and art.  In the new economy, the media is big, hollywood is big, and the web is big.  (2) The new economy is idea based.  Not just ideas but also emotions.  Ideas plus emotion equal attitudes.  Really the whole mind is involved.  (3) People need a limited amount of physical things to be healthy and happy.  People need more of intangibles like freedom, love, knowledge of the world and knowledge of how to best live.  These things are not scarce in number like physical resources are.  (4) Ideas are not scarce in number like physical resources are.  Ideas are limited only by our creativity.  And thus the new economy does not follow the old economic model of scarcity and price.  ---  12/29/1997

Economics, of information.  ---  Currently we digitize information, but one day we may be able to digitize inert matter and even people.  Then what will happen to economics?  Digitization lowers the costs of production and distribution.  ---  3/14/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Economic models of free information: (1) Free and open (non-proprietary).  Examples include the Free Software Foundation (FSF).  General Public License (GPL).  Linux.  GNU.  Open Software Movement.  (2) Free with advertisements (ex. Online newspapers).  (3) Free but proprietary (closed).  Examples include free yet closed copyrighted and patented software.  ---  12/1/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Economics of emotions.  (1) Love in the form of arts, such as music, movies, etc.  (2) Love in the form of call-girls.  (3) Love how else?  Love in the form of marriage.  Marriage as an economic institution.  ---  3/14/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Economics of goods, services, and information (ideas and emotions).  The third is much more important that the first two.  ---  3/14/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Economics of ideas is not simple supply and demand.  (1) Supply.  There is a limitless supply of ideas.  There is no scarcity of ideas like there is of physical matter.  It takes no resources to produce ideas.  Often ideas just pop into our heads.  Information wants to be free, as they say on the Internet.  Information does not require paper, or silicon, because it can be spread by word of mouth.  Ideas are not bound by matter.  (2) Demand.  There is a limitless demand for ideas.  There is a limit to how much you can eat, but there is no limit to how much you can learn.  People need much more information than they do goods and services.  ---  3/14/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Economics of ideas.  (1) Information defined as anything that can be digitized: books, music, visual art, movies, software, etc.  (2) Information wants to be free, as they say.  Examples, MP3s, online newspapers, Linux, clipart, etc.  ---  3/11/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Economics of ideas.  When the product is information, rather than goods and services, what is the price of an idea?  You can't put a price on an idea.  Do you price it at the benefits an idea can provide when put into action?  Do you measure the cost to produce the idea?  Examples, copyrights and patents.  ---  10/3/1999

Economics, of information.  ---  Economics of information is tied up with the politics of information and the technology of information.  They affect each other.  Change one and you change the others.  ---  4/28/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  For any information (ex. books, music, movies, visual arts, software, etc.) that you can create and try to sell for a profit, somebody else somewhere in the world will create for fun and give away for free.  They may not create exactly the same work, but it will most likely be functionally equivalent.  The result of this situation is that it becomes more difficult to make a living as a writer, artist, etc.  An example of the above phenomena is for-profit Unix vs. free Linux.  ---  1/5/2001

Economics, of information.  ---  Free and Open.  (1) Free: anyone can obtain the information for no cost.  (2) Open: once obtained, (A) anyone can manipulate the code that carries the information, or (B) anyone can manipulate the information itself.  (3) Free and open are the ideal.  Some products are neither open nor free (ex. Microsoft products).  Some products are free but not open (ex. compiled-code free-software).  Some products are open but not free (ex. source-code pay-software).  Some products are fee and open (ex. Linux).  ---  12/1/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Free.  (1) Free PC's (ex. People PC).  (2) Free Internet access (ex. Bluelight).  (3) Free online information (ex. Internet Encyclopedia).  ---  5/29/2001

Economics, of information.  ---  Information has worth above and beyond the worth of the medium.  For example, a book that is 100 pages is worth more than 100 pages of blank paper and ink.  Another example, one book of 100 pages can cost more than a different book of 100 pages.  ---  9/11/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  Information hypotheses.  (1) Information is of many types.  Information can take the form of ideas, emotions, or even attitudes (ideas + emotions).  Information can take the form of words, pictures, music or software code.  (2) Information exists apart from the medium that transmits it (despite what Marshall McLuhan thinks).  For example, a thought can be transmitted by paper book, radio waves, or digital packets.  (3) Digitized information distribution should be no-cost or nearly no-cost.  (4) Information creation is low cost.  People often think of stuff out of the blue, and they do it because they enjoy it.  Thus, one could argue that creators of information should be paying the rest of us (just kidding).  (5) To say we are becoming an information society is to say we are becoming a free (no cost) society.  (6) The human need for information (including the emotion of love) is much greater than our need for physical stuff.  (7) To say we are becoming an information society or world means that (A) education is a basic human right, perhaps even an obligation, and should be free to all.  (B) Communication is increasingly more important than physical conflict in resolving disputes.  (C) Cooperation is at least as important as competition.  ---  12/1/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Internet models.  (1) Business to consumer (B2C): The problem with B2C is that most people like to get out of the house and go shopping, so online shopping has little to offer these people.  (2) Business to business (B2B): Most business people like talking on the phone to another person, and they like closing deals over lunch, so online purchasing has little to offer these people.  (3) Peer to peer (P2P): This is where the Internet shines.  The sharing of free information among peers is what the Internet is all about.  ---  12/23/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Is it better to have stuff or knowledge?   Material possessions or information?  Take the example of a skilled woodsman who has a great deal of knowledge that lets him survive with minimal possessions.  This is an example of how knowledge can be more important than stuff.  ---  6/24/2002

Economics, of information.  ---  Much of the information we know is information that we pick up for free through observation.  For example, when you visit a foreign culture for the first time you learn about that culture by observation.  In pure capitalism, where all information is owned privately and sold for a price, people would be denied much of the information that is currently freely available.  ---  9/11/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  One creates an information system and it has economic, political and technological aspects.  What's happening today with information?  And what should happen as a goal?  (1) Technologically.  Information is being digitized.  (2) Politically.  Monopoly over information is being challenged.  Copyright and patent is being challenged.  (3) Economically.  Information is getting cheaper and more wide spread.  ---  4/28/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  Several billion people typing on their computers, for fun and for free, in the evening after work, have the potential to create more and better than academia, government and business worlds combined.  These free content producers can contribute in every media: software, music, literature, visual arts, movies, etc.  These free content producers could eventually become the majority and eventually make the non-free (i.e. business) the minority.  ---  4/26/2001

Economics, of information.  ---  The information economy.  (1) The economy needs information about itself to be healthy.  Stock quotes, interest rates, etc.  (2) People need information to be healthy.  Ignorance is bliss only in the short run, not the long run.  ---  4/29/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  There is much unused computer processing power in computers that are sitting in screen saver mode around the world.  The SETI project is one example of a project that makes use of underutilized computer processing power.  Similarly, there is much unused human brain power in humans who are sitting idly around the world.  This brain power can be put to use for the good of all humanity.  ---  8/29/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  What is an idea worth?  (1) If a book costs ten dollars and contains one thousand sentences then can we say each sentence in the book is worth a penny?  If each sentences has about ten words than can we say that each word is worth a tenth of a cent?  (2) What is the worth of the thousand sentences if they have been mixed up in random order?  What is the worth of the same thousand sentences if you try to sell them one at a time?  Are they not worth more as a complete set?  (3) What if you tried to buy only part of an idea?  For example: What if, instead of buying an entire song, you tried to buy only the notes of pitch C contained in the song?  What if you tried to buy only the blue squares from a painting by Mondrian?  What if you tried to buy only the words beginning with the letter "n" contained in a book?  (4) Information is about organization and order.  Entropy is about randomness and disorder.  Information is the opposite of entropy.  Information increases as more organization and order is applied.  Thus, the value of information increases as more organization and order is applied to the information.  ---  9/11/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  What is an idea worth?  Are you looking to make money in your spare time?  Are you able to think of ideas?  The ideas you think of are valuable.  And, if there is a correspondence across various type of value, your ideas are theoretically worth money.  Don't just sit there, start thinking.  Save your ideas, because even though no one may actually pay you for your ideas, your ideas have some kind of value.  ---  9/11/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  What is an idea worth?  If an idea can keep someone alive, and if a human life is priceless, then the idea is priceless.  ---  9/8/2005

Economics, of information.  ---  When it comes to the economics of information, often what is at issue is not matters of economic costs or profits but rather attempts at knowledge secrecy.  Knowledge secrecy results in an attempt at power-hogging through knowledge-hogging, since knowledge often equals power.  This issue is related to Karl Popper's argument of the Open Society.  ---  12/1/2000

Economics, of information.  ---  Wikipedia is not perfect, but it is available to read at no cost to the reader.  Wikipedia is a worthwhile project.  The same can be said of the Internet in general.  The Internet in general is not perfect but the Internet is available to read at no cost to the reader.  The Internet is a worthwhile project.  ---  8/29/2005

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.