[arin-ppml] simple question about money

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Sat Jun 14 14:03:59 EDT 2008

This dialogue has reached if not passed the point of diminishing
returns. Let's agree to talk f2f some time it's too labor-intensive this

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Vest [mailto:tvest at pch.net]
> > The resources are already alienable, for any economic definition of
> > alienable.
> I'd be very interested to read something resembling argument rather
> than assertion here; references to real observations or data too.

You made a one-line assertion about alienability. Now you ask me for a
full-fledged argument, observations and data. Tell you what: Apply the
same standards to your own argumentation as you do to mine.

Alienability in economics simply means you can give up a resource. You
can do that with or without address transfers, since you can always
return them to the RIR. 

> ... and it basically completes the functional definition of
> "privatization."
> I'll be happy to discuss the hypothetical benefits if you'll confirm
> that you are, in fact, advocating the full privatization of IPv4.

More rhetorical games. Not interested. I said that an ARIN-authorized
transfer policy was _not_ full privatization, and made an argument to
that effect, which you ignored. 

The issue is whether v4 address management is aided by decentralized
transfers. All you've done is reassert that you want to call it

> I believe that there are other
> potentially viable mechanisms for facilitating the "recirculation" of
> IPv4 as necessary, as part of a transition to IPv6 -- mechanisms that
> will not have the same risks (i.e., non-reversibility) or perverse
> incentives as a transfer market is likely to have.

Tell me what they are. That would be useful.

> Can you point to a market for any other industrial input anywhere/
> anytime that has the following characteristics:

Yes, I could if I wanted to spend the next 2 hours writing about it and
going down your list. Right now I don't.

I will say that markets are applied to fairly limited pools all the
time, e.g., auctions for desirable phone numbers or license plates,
auctions for specific domain names (no other perfect substitute exists),
etc. Real estate markets also come to mind. 

> In the mean time, if you're suggesting that the Internet is somehow
> trivial as an economic phenomenon relative to the individual countries
> that have been mentioned, 

Apparently you didn't understand my point. My point was that Internet is
already deeply embedded in a commercial market economy and so a
transition to a few more market incentives in a very narrow context was
not comparable to disruiptive capability of the total transformation of
the entire political economy of some of the world's biggest countries. 

> If you're suggesting that IPv4 is, at present, something less that the
> Internet's only global medium of exchange -- and I do mean that quite
> literally -- then I will also categorically disagree.*

You have a tendency to slide into weirdo economics. It's particularly
strange here. You want to call IPv4 a "medium of exchange" but you are
making panicky arguments against allowing people to exchange ipv4
addresses. Interesting.

I'll wait for the paper, but remember that media of exchange are more
commonly called "money." And its value hinges precisely on its
transferability. And IP addresses are technical resources and not a
"medium of exchange." Try to find a vocabulary for your ideas that

> immaterial. There are many things that I would like to see survive (at
> least) this transition -- most importantly the capacity of the
> Internet to support new entrants, 

Me too. I think your policies kill it. 

> new applications and services, on
> terms that are (at least) no worse than those enjoyed by past and
> current stakeholders.

It is impossible to equalize opportunities across time. 

> I think that the system of self-governance (the
> alternative to which is sometimes called "arbitrary partition" by an
> illustrious industry colleague) is useful to that end, and I even
> think that the RIRs have been a useful element of that system of self-
> governance.

So do I. I want to see non-national-state governance survive.
Institutions that ignore the economic forces driving their governance
problems will certainly not survive, and we all know that governments
will be willing and able to step in. 

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