[arin-ppml] ARIN-prop-151 Limiting Needs Requirements for IPv4 Transfers

John Springer springer at inlandnet.com
Tue May 24 12:03:22 EDT 2011

Hi Mike, Owen, ARIN,

Still not ready to declare for or against, but leaning... OK, not for it 
exactly as written, but I do think this needs to be discussed from now to 
and through Philadelphia.

At base, the policy change under discussion is to remove needs assessment 
from the process of transfering IPV4 addresses. There is another clause 
dealing with the section 12 review that I am going to skip in this post. 
The major idea SEEMS to be that the author feels that the invisible hand 
of the free market will do a better (fairer?) job of fitting available 
addresses to their best destination in the context of a marketplace.

A marketplace.

So far, the traffic in IP addresses has taken place in an orderly manner, 
not unlike a harvest does. An RIR gets a crop of addresses in, in a 
quasi-seasonal manner and they enter into a regulated, distribution 
situation. Take a number, no pushing, no shoving, parcel 'em all out, 
rinse repeat. Not a modern NAFTA, WTO market, granted, but predictable.

But the harvest has failed in IPV4 numbers and we seem to be faced with 
famine, first in APNIC and then in the rest of the RIRs. Oh sure, we can't 
eat IP numbers and they are endlessly recyclable and we have a new food 
supply ready and waiting, blah, blah, blah. But it will resemble a famine, 
nontheless. And there are a number of features about famines, with which 
mankind has wide experience. There will be a black market, there will be 
hoarding. There will be haves trying to help havenots. There will be 
bandits, both individual and collective. There will be bad behavior and 
good behavior. There will be starvation and gluttony and all the 
inefficiencies that man can devise.

But in every famine with which I am familiar, I've never heard of the body 
that had control of the grain throwing open the doors of the granaries and 
declaring, "Everything goes to the highest bidder! First come, first 
served! Get it today before it's gone!" Someone said something earlier 
about an invisible fist. That's what this sounds like.

But wait!, I can hear someone saying. We're not talking about the central 
granary here. We just want some well capitalized benefactors to be able to 
come in and buy up all the unused grain from folks who don't need it 
anyway, hang onto it and sell it at a modest profit later when the price 
really goes up. What's wrong with that? They're taking all the risk, 
right? RIGHT? Pay no attention to those guys with the pick handles by the 
gates. They're just keeping order.

And Mom and Pop and their little windfall and all the rest.

Now, I recognize that the author is not proposing throwing open the doors 
precisely. And the horrors of IPV4 starvation don't have the same punch as 
say, Biafra. But in this orderly marketplace, the needs basis is the door, 
and we should think long and hard before taking it out of the jamb and 
setting it aside. And, quelle surprise, that seems to be exactly what we 
are doing.

Looking toward Philadelphia, I think I might be in favor of dealing (so to 
speak) with the question of needs and the market as its own solo subject, 
without the section 12 stuff. This would allow for the appropriate
recapitulation of the development of modern economics since the ancien 
regime, in this context. :)

My thanks to the participants in this important discussion.

John Springer

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