Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Thu Dec 8 11:08:52 MST 1994

On Thu, 8 Dec 1994 SCIABRRC at ACFcluster.NYU.EDU wrote:

> 	While I have enjoyed reading the various postings on Internet, let's
> not run head-strong into saying that the system itself came from purely
> "non-capitalist" beginnings.  If you define the market as purely motivated by
> profit, you are being extremely narrow.  The truth is, the whole system has
> EVOLVED as one of the most illustrative examples of what Hayek would call, a
> "spontaneous order."  As Louis and Steve have suggested, it is "libertarian" in
> this sense, in its roots.  It is certainly not the result of some kind of
> centralized plan, and that is one of its virtues.

The system is physically decentralized, but it was established by one of
the last surviving central planning institutions - and a very successful
one at that - the Pentagon. It was sustained with decades of government
subsidies, as were the computer and telecoms technologies themselves. Of
course many other parties have hopped on and taken advantage, and the
system has evolved in unpredictable ways, but that's a public good for
you isn't it?

> 	Please note that the real threat to Internet is not so much the Bill
> Gates of the world but the GOVERNMENT which talks in terms of an Information
> Superhighway, which would give them access to email and private correspondence.
> When the state gets involved with Internet, as if to "plan" its "order," look
> for massive invasions of civil liberties, and new blacklists.

Yes Bill Gates, who made a fortune adapting BASIC, a language devised at
a nonprofit institution (Dartmouth), and then adpting CP/M, an operating
system devised by someone else, for computers made by IBM, a major
beneficiary of the decades of subsidies mentioned above. Says something
about the private appropriation of social products, doesn't it?

Who's censoring email, the government or Prodigy, a joint venture one of
whose partners is our old friend IBM?


Doug Henwood [dhenwood at]
Left Business Observer
212-874-4020 (voice)
212-874-3137 (fax)


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