[arin-ppml] FW: Policy Proposal 2008-6: Emergency TransferPolicyfor IPv4 Addresses - Last Call

Kevin Kargel kkargel at polartel.com
Fri Jan 2 09:47:09 EST 2009

> I write this half-heartedly because we are just repeating the same old
> positions. Those who are knee-jerk against markets (Kargel, you, etc.)
> have used Herrin's simple rewording proposal to reassert their view. Yawn.
> It might be more productive to debate the merits of the rewording. Anyway,
I am not knee-jerk against markets.  I am adamantly against markets.  There
is a difference.  I have thought long and hard about markets and the
conclusions I come to say that markets will work temporarily, but at the
expense of small companies and consumers. Rewording a bad idea still leaves
you with a bad idea.  It doesn't matter how you spice up zucchini, it is
still zucchini when you are done.

If you don't want to repeat the same old positions then quit trying to push
the same old bad idea or come up with a new one.  This pushing through of
policies in the same manner that special interest groups push the same old
bill to congress even though it gets voted down over and over until
resistance is just eroded is getting old too.  My position is simple, IP
markets are bad, it doesn't matter how you re-word it, it doesn't matter
what qualifications you put to it, an IP market would be bad for society.  

I do not feel that compromise is a useful tactic when the base theory is
bad.  Carrying on discussions about "well how about if we modified the
market like.." are dysfunctional.  Those are just attempts to legitimize a
bad idea.   

It is a shame that so many people take the lazy approach of trying to
regulate a problem by artificially raising the cost of the commodity without
thought as to how that is going to affect the average family.  In these
times many families are already stretching their budgets to the breaking
point.  These people don't care about IPv4/IPv6, they just need their
internet to work.  They need it for their kids education, they need it to
find jobs, to shop efficiently, for inexpensive entertainment..  Raising the
cost of access by even 10% will seriously hurt these people and will
significantly lower their quality of life.  

The cost of going to markets for IP addresses will be very significant and
ultimately that cost will go to the consumer.  The giant ISP's will not be
affected by the cost as it is only transitory to them, they pay more for
IP's they raise their consumer pricing, the operating budget stays stable.  

An IP market will not change things significantly as far as availability of
IP over time, there are a finite number of IP addresses and when they are
all consumed they are all consumed.  Having an IP market may delay the
runout date by some months, but that is all the effect it will have.  Some
people wishing to be IP brokers and make a lot of money in those months are
pushing hard for the markets, as are some holders of legacy /8 space looking
for an opportunity to take excessive profits from the IP space they have
been hoarding unused.  This will happen on the backs of ordinary people.  

Another effect of markets that has only been glancingly discussed is that
markets would open the floodgate for government control of IP.  Once IP
addresses are valuated and treated as property it then becomes easy for
governments to tax them.  Once they are taxed then the empire builders have
legitimized rationale for government control of the commodity.  I have a
hard time even speculating about the evils we will see if the internet
becomes controlled by a motley collection of local governments.  

Discussions of IPv4 market are probably the biggest thing that is keeping
holders of unused IP space from allowing it to be reclaimed.  As long as
people keep raising the hopes that this hoard will have great future value
nobody other than a few good socially conscious people are going to release
the resource.  

> > The thing I find odd about people who believe both of these things
> > is they seem to have been for "needs based" allocation in the past.
> Nothing odd here. The IGP paper and other analyses have explained why the
> rationale for needs-based administrative allocation breaks down completely
> when the free pool is exhausted. Once the free space is gone it is no
> longer about "need" is it is about "relative need"; i.e., it is possible
> for 2 - N applicants for the same address space to have fully justified
> claims on the same amount of the address space. At that point the
> administrator has to use some criterion other than "need" to redistribute
> the resource. What will it be?

First come first served till its gone.

> Even if there are no market-based transfers, the definition of "need" will
> change radically, to reflect the greater scarcity, as ARIN will be forced
> to impose tougher standards of what constitutes need based on this
> relativistic (scarcity-based) assessment, and to reassess the allocations
> of people who got them based on "need" in the past in order to reclaim
> them for other uses.
> The status quo you defend so doggedly will and must end. You are not
> opposing markets you are opposing the fact of scarcity, which is (as the
> Canute story suggests) a futile exercise.
> Milton Mueller
> Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies
> XS4All Professor, Delft University of Technology
> ------------------------------
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> http://internetgovernance.org
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