[arin-ppml] simple question about money

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Fri Jun 13 17:41:49 EDT 2008


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Vest [mailto:tvest at pch.net] 

> a "transfer" of resources that were previously defined and/or 
> treated as common pool resources, which makes those resources 
> alienable, and grants the initial recipients the right to choose   
> the identity, timing, and terms of transfer to subsequent recipients
> privatization, plain and simple.

The resources are already alienable, for any economic definition of
The right to choose the identity, timing and terms of transfer is new,
but it's a feature not a bug (an issue you keep ignoring). That's the
whole point. Those transfers will not take place otherwise. So let's
talk about whether the transfers are useful and needed.
> We may all wish to passionately assert otherwise. Perhaps 
> that passion  
> will have weight in legal proceedings. I'll guess we'll have to wait  
> and see. I readily admit that I'm not a lawyer; perhaps there are  
> lawyers with expertise in this new/emerging field on the list?

<sigh> the issue is not all that new. E.g., the atmosphere is the
ultimate common pool resource; and yet you can trade carbon emission
rights with respect to it. Yet, the air is not "privatized." You have
spectrum auctions, but the government maintains all kinds of rights over
spectrum use, terms and conditions. (Read the fine print) And no one
wants to go back to comparative hearings, the equivalent of RIR's
"need-based allocations." ICANN's beauty contests for TLDs are a
disaster as well.

> > Do you seriously consider these moderate transfer policies as "shock
> > therapy?" I guffaw, sir!  

I've read your arguments about shock therapy, and think they are not so
relevant. Like your use of the "P" word (privatization) I see only
mental blocks and possibly scare tactics here. And perhaps I share the
blame for that, having initiated the Deng Xiao Ping thing. 

Fact is, the Internet and the RIRs are already deeply, deeply embedded
in a market economy. Consumers buy Internet service in a market; they
buy PCs and networking equipment in a market, they buy content in a
market, businesses buy and sell advertising in a market; they get the
real estate out of which they operate in a market, and they buy labor in
a market. 

So we are talking about the insertion of a piddling amount of economic
incentives into a tiny part of the internet market. For you to compare
that to the wholesale transformation of an entire
(Russian/Chinese/Polish) that had spent 7 decades completely outside of
a market price system (and centuries in feudalism prior to that) is just
sheer panic-mongering. 

Unlike formerly communist countries, RIR reforms take place in a rule of
law, fairly clear lines of authority within ARIN, an independent
judiciary outside of it. No commissars in the U.S. DoD will be making
off with half the address space....er, ooops, I guess they have already
done that, haven't they? But they did that years ago without any need
for address transfers, didn't they? Indeed, a transfer scheme might give
us some change of recovering that....

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