Pragmatism (was Re: [ppml] Re: 2005-1:Multi-national Business Enablement)

Tom Vest tvest at
Mon May 9 14:07:48 EDT 2005

On May 9, 2005, at 12:42 PM, Edward Lewis wrote:

> If the Internet has yet to scale one more order of magnitude (from  
> about the estimated 1 billion users to the estimated population of the  
> earth at 7 billion), the resources that are already regulated along  
> national sovereignty boundaries will have to be tapped - and these  
> will have to be tapped in accordance with "their" rules.  IOW,  
> considering all of the resources used to build the Internet today -  
> imagine needing to consume the same 9 times over.  Where do these  
> resources come from?

> Especially because the ITU's managed address space has not run out.  
> IPv4's is allegedly (prompting IPv6), so if we deplete v6 also the ITU  
> can claim "we've never exhausted an address pool but they have -  
> twice!"
> --  

Hi Ed,

Trying to parse your question; hoping for further assistance...

First, the only slightly tongue-in-cheek response: do you think the ITU  
would be (or be perceived to be) doing as well with their number  
management if 8-9 new sovereign states were added to the international  
system every day? That's the situation that the RIRs face, because --  
at least in some places -- the barriers to becoming a network operator  
are relatively low. In perhaps half of the world -- precisely the half  
where all resources are *not* strictly aligned with national boundaries  
-- once "mere subjects" (read: customers) have broad latitude to secede  
whenever they perceive that they can (1) make money, (2) save money, or  
(3) fulfill any purpose important enough to justify *to themselves* the  
necessary investment. We see an average of nine or so such "secessions"  
in the routing table every day -- and *they* are the primary source and  
vehicle of Internet expansion, statistically. New networks are the  
primary source of new Internet growth -- users, uses, usage, etc.

How many new sovereign national entities do you see being created every  
day -- every century? No so many, because existing political entities  
prefer a status quo that guarantees them power over their existing  
resource base, to a system where those resources may get eroded through  
progressive devolution/decentralization. There have always been  
arguments that in many cases/places a kind of sovereign-level  
devolution/reorganizing could lead to a better, "more efficient"  
international system -- but almost no one's buying. I'll spare you the  
academic citations, but the point is that "national resource alignment"  
is essentially a conservative strategy, not a strategy for growth.  
Strict national resource alignment is not an efficient way of  
organizing a system that grows in response to transnational supply and  
demand -- like the conventional economy, like the Internet. It is,  
however, a good strategy for perpetuating national power.

Shameless plug: 
WoN at SIMS-DLS-050316.pdf



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