As an habit, Open Source as been equaled to communism, particularly on the USA
where “communist” seems to be an insult. Let’s deconstruct that and see who the
real communists are.
Communism is characterized by monopolistic entities controlled by a single head.
Everyone buys from and works for the entity. There are no alternatives.
The goal of a capitalist company is maximizing shareholder return. This simply
means minimizing expenses and maximizing income to yield more profit. Maximizing
income means selling more at higher prices which means end game for a capitalist
venture is achieving 100% market quota and staying there. Once The Company is the
sole employer and raw materials buyer in that market the minimizing costs problem
solves itself. Also, without competition quality isn’t an issue which also helps
lowering the cost.
Sounds familiar ? It should. The end game for a capitalist company is creating
a communist market where The State is The Company. All aspects of the market are
dictated by The Head of The Company and competition is kept out of the
market through a number of mechanisms from dumping to unnecessary incompatibility.
For a case-study of nearly all the mechanisms see the history of Microsoft. If you
join Apple’s story you get basically all the mechanisms, probably except murder.
Now lets look at the Open Source market. By definition, there is no monopolist
entity because property must be licensed to everyone and noone can turn it back
into a closed monopoly. There are no artificial technological barriers so it’s a
level market. In fact it’s not much of a market at all. So where’s the market ?
In the Open Source market software is a commodity and services are the actual
traded good. In the monopolist model services are also traded goods but secondary
and tied by the monopoly. In the Open Source economy services, be them support,
custom development or whatever the market requires, are the unique scarce resource.
Scarcity isn’t generated artificially as the tools and knowledge to create services
are readily available. It’s natural as service interactions are singular.
Since there are no barriers to entry the Open Source service market is a truly
open market where price is regulated only by quality of work and delivery capacity.
So turns out the end goal of the software capitalist enterprise is to create a
communist market and the end goal of Open Source is to create a capitalist market.
All the western states have laws in regulations in place to keep capitalist
enterprises from reaching their end goal but none have laws to keep Open Source
from reaching its end goal.
So, who’s the real Stalin ?