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Bruce Perens: Is Open Source Capitalist or Communist?

Mar 09, 2009, 23:02 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Perens)

"About once a week a certain blogger stridently claims Open Source is a Capitalist Movement! or Today, Open Source is Commercial! and Open Source is About Capitalism, Not Freebies!

"In fact, the truth is more complicated. We'll get into the economics of software and business to understand it.

"First, is business capitalistic? Well, sure, you'd say. But the truth is that business rarely operates under a pure capitalist model. And especially not now. Under such a model, a bankrupt or uncompetitive business would be allowed, indeed encouraged, to die in a sort of Social Darwinism.

"Yet one need only look at economic recovery schemes worldwide to see that companies thought of as the epitome of capitalism just last year are now only too eager to nurse at our collective tax-funded teat, with the approval of their peers and millions of smaller businesses worldwide.

"But business isn't only Communist when it's down. Business requires a commons to operate. Public roads, and infrastructure in general are the usual examples, but also the broader collection of nearly everything that government does: providing a common framework of law in which business can compete, keeping civil order, providing education for the work force, funding research and development."

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