Victus Spiritus


Open Edges, the End of Ownership Heralds New Opportunity

25 Feb 2010

The concept of ownership is going through a transformation, as it has for thousands of years. A clear example of this shift is evident in the fundamental resource, land. We instinctively defend territory from outsiders, so it is little surprise that land and ownership are integrally connected. Cultural meaning for owning land has drifted between civilizations. Nomadic people defended huge tracts of land, which were tribally owned. In contrast, modern day title searches and local databases have become a bureacratic rat's nest. Nearly all land is taxed annually, only specific religious entities escape paying property taxes. Taxation goes hand in hand with to ownership exchange.

The trend for taxation has been the fuel for increasing government size and control for hundreds of years. Every exchange of resources results in government revenue. The greatest structures of ownership, mega corporations, are merely tools to generate greater government revenue. By simple observation, the government "owns" everything. Even bartering is legally taxable. Patents have extended this domain into the realm of ideas (but only implemented ones), under the motive of protecting research investments. But there's a loophole, taxation requires ownership.

Attention, Shared Ideas, and Information are Beyond Taxation

The value horizon of any product or service grows exponentially with open patterns. Networks increase their value by exposing each node to an expanding set of opportunities. The common usage pattern to contribute to a network is a product of the interface, dataflow, and early user community. If this usage pattern creates positive feedback, the network grows.

Applications developed in the open (public) benefit from review and a diversity of permutations. Open development shares the benefits of blogging, where the author's ideas are enriched by exposure to and feedback from an interested community. This form of collaboration enables developers to cherry pick and incorporate choice features into their design. The decision of what to open source, and when to do so are specific to the application.

Open frameworks, libraries, APIs, and protocols are the formats used to communicate implemented ideas. These structures are the language of open edges which have so far eluded direct taxation. As soon as a structure is charged for, it is taxed, creating friction for it's growth.