Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Aug 2012 22:14 UTC
Legal "The web has been alight these past few weeks with the details of the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit. It's been a unique opportunity to peer behind the curtain of how these two companies operate, as the trial seeks to answer the question: did Samsung copy Apple? But there's actually another question that I think is much more interesting to the future of innovation in the technology industry: regardless of whether the courts say that Samsung copied Apple or not, would we all be better off if we allowed - even encouraged - companies to copy one another?" This is very relevant.
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Altruism/socialism
by kwan_e on Tue 21st Aug 2012 03:57 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

From the article:

"Like with open-source software, altruism and socialism played no roleā€”just good old-fashioned capitalist incentives."

Article probably didn't need that part, being irrelevant at best, and contradicting other parts of the Cornwall engine story. Towards the end of the article the author assumes, for some inexplicable reason, that the drive for competition are somehow opposed to altruism and socialism in principle.

Capitalism may be the driver of the continued innovation, but it was not the motive. As the article notes, it began with the willingness to share information, which is not a necessary part of capitalist theory, but certainly in line with altruism* and socialism.

The reason why I say capitalism was not the motive is because the people to do the sharing were engineers. Not the owners of the mines. If there's one thing that hasn't changed, it's the innate tendency of engineers everywhere to want to make things better, whether or not there are capitalist incentives, and certainly when it's improving on a rival's design.

The lesson to learn here is always: let the engineers get on with their work, and the only way they can get on with their work is if they have all the information they want at their disposal. Patents are a dam along the river of the flow of information. You may get a big lake, but there's less to work with down stream, and your lake has destroyed the ecology quite a ways upstream.**

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA4dZ6NVNbk Studies into game theory using the Prisoner's Dilemma shows "niceness" as being a part of the winning formula.

** And the solution for a drought is not more dams...

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