Pragmatism (was Re: [ppml] Re: 2005-1:Multi-national Business Enablement)
tvest at pch.net
Mon May 9 17:16:09 EDT 2005
On May 9, 2005, at 4:10 PM, Edward Lewis wrote:
> At 14:07 -0400 5/9/05, Tom Vest wrote:
>> 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
> Well, my question was more about what drove the desires, but you've
> brought up something that does differentiate between the RIR approach
> and the ITU approach.
> What's interesting is that the difference here relates to barriers of
> entry, but is much the same as the difference between fundamental
> technical differences between telephony's time (or wave) division
> multiplexing and computer network on-demand (ALOHA-like) methods of
> sharing a medium. Hmmm.
you could almost call something like this "logical multiplexing" ;)
(apropos previous shameless self-promotion)
> I was thinking that one difference was the fixed size of address (in
> IP) versus variable (tel nos.). Because phone numbers aren't fixed
> length, assigning country codes is plausible. With fixed lengths, it
> isn't so much.
> But having to deal with players coming and going - and all the
> associated security, economic, and business state being established
> and dismantled - that the environment is much harder to deal with. (If
> you can count the game's participants, it's much easier to predict the
>> How many new sovereign national entities do you see being created
>> every day
>> -- every century?
> One could make a snide remark about "regime change" directives. ;)
That might count as "change of management," much less frequently M&A,
but almost never devolution resulting in a larger number of basic
entities afterward. We get nine new networks a day, and rising.
>> system -- but almost no one's buying. I'll spare you the academic
>> but the point is that "national resource alignment" is essentially a
>> conservative strategy, not a strategy for growth. Strict national
>> alignment is not an efficient way of organizing a system that grows in
>> response to transnational supply and demand -- like the conventional
>> like the Internet. It is, however, a good strategy for perpetuating
> I don't need the citations, I wholeheartedly agree with this.
> At one time I was convinced the following was a paraphrased quote of
> Samuel Morse (telegraph dude), but have yet to find a citation - and I
> have tried -
> "Innovation is stymied because there comes a time when to deploy it
> fully you need the capitalization owned by the proponents of the
> status quo. Not until the status quo proponents have figured out how
> to use the innovation to their own benefit will the capital appear."
> The quoted words were much better...
> IOW - Nations (or the people in power) will want to see the Interent
> administered (I'm avoiding "governed") in a way that perpetuates their
> power. I think that's only natural. The (rhetorical) question is how
> does the Internet grow with or inspite of this, without killing the
> benefit (real or perceived, past or future) of the innovation?
> I suppose you could boil down my question to - it's not that the ITU
> is "backwards" for being so nationalistic, it's that the Internet
> Community (TM) needs to figure out how to continue to be innovative
> with the nationalistic reality.
I wholeheartedly agree back. Neither government(s) nor the ITU are
stupid or evil; both have done lots of good in their time/place, also
lots of harm at other times. Change is upon us, and it is incumbent
upon everyone to think about what to do about it. I will do something
even more unexpected and paraphrase Hans Klein and Milton Mueller,
about the appropriate prerequisites for greater government involvement
in Internet policy:
"...one cannot expect a government to apply competition law
evenhandedly to a monopoly enterprise created by the government or a
state-owned enterprise in which the government has a substantial
economic stake. If governments want to (have greater authority over
Internet policy) they have to get out of its day to day workings."*
In other words, governments should be expected to choose between
Internet roles -- player or referee, but not both. To demand both
engenders a conflict of interest that is inconsistent with good
governance in any sector.
*This is generalized from a statement about ICANN reform in "What to Do
About ICANN: A Proposal for Structural Reform," online at:
> Edward Lewis
> If you knew what I was thinking, you'd understand what I was saying.
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