US Economy

Merrill Oveson moveson at
Fri Apr 8 08:51:38 MDT 2005

Everyone please read:

Economics Explained : Everything You Need to Know About How the
Economy Works and Where It's Going
by Robert L. Heilbroner, Lester Thurow

As someone who has a degree in economics, let me offer my humble view.
The OSS movement has had a huge and positive impact on the growth of
not only the US economy but the World Economy as well.


1) OSS has put significant pressure on commercial software producers
this has caused them to a) lower their prices b) produce better
Competition is always good - at least for consumers.  Monopolies are
bad for consumers.  OPEC is a monopoly.  They are the #1 reason why
oil prices are what they are.

2) Because of reason #1, the cost to acquire software is less
expensive.  This cost savings allows businesses and consumers to spend
the saving on other goods and services.  Consumers (whether households
or businesses always look to reduce costs.)  Producers (business or
labor) always look for ways to increase the price of their goods and
services.  Supply vs Demand - is what determines prices.  If OSS
didn't exist, then commercial software would be much much more
expensive.  Remember when WordPerfect was selling for $600? 
Microsoft, in an effort to gain marketshare around 1992, introduced a
suite of applications Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access all for $99. 
Suddenly, WordPerfect had to scramble to introduce their own suite,
that's when they teamed up with Borland's Quattro Pro and Paradox -
and had to suddenly cut the price of their flagship product
WordPerfect.  Now a days we have better wordprocessors for way less
money - especially factoring in inflation!

3) Lastly, because OSS was free and still is, this huge cost saving
spurred a ton of new innovation and businesses.  Smart guys, like you
all, grabbing Linux and Apache and setting up ISPs, or websites for
commercial enterprises, or websites for your own commercial
enterprise.  Heck I have a commercial website, it cost next to nothing
to host, the software for it is free.  Without OSS, this would have
never happened.  OSS and the internet (a result of OSS mentality) has
reduced the cost of advertising, marketing, customer filfullment,
mailing (Yes email makes the post office think twice before raising
the cost of a stamp.), even shipping, banking, etc, etc, etc -

The OSS movement continues to one of factors helping to spur the
economy forward.  The 90s saw unprecendented economic growth, this
growth was due largely to the product that everyone had to have - the
internet/web - which meant you had to have a computer to get to it,
and you either wanted a website for your own business or wanted to
surf to sites - all this kept me and probably a lot of you employed
during this time - until 2000 - when the stock market began a major
correction and the US economy went into a recession.  At which time, I
lost my job and had a hard time finding another one.

Lately, this economy is desperate for the next innovation to fuel it's
next growth cycle.  Something needs to come out that everyone must
have, either something that results in huge cost savings, or something
so neat that everyone goes out and buys it.  In the 80s it was
computers and a number of new electonic goods, VCRs, etc.  In the 90s
it was the internet, web, computers.  Notice that the 70s were a
period of stagnation (high unemployment, high inflation, high interest
rates - no real world changing products)  Now in this decade, we need
some new world changing consumer products - robots that really do a
great job of cleaning my house, airline travel that takes me into
space, thus overcoming the sound barrier and getting me to my
destination in 1/10 the time at a faction the cost, new energy
technology - oh how I wish that cold fusion would have worked.....

I could on, but it's time to end.       


On Apr 7, 2005 10:08 PM, Doran Barton <fozz at> wrote:
> Not long ago, David Smith proclaimed...
> > F/OSS does not affect the US or world economy.
> Considering that the Internet was based largely on developers sharing code
> and protocol specifications in a psuedo-open source fashion, I can't
> imagine what the world would be like or what the booming, bubbling 1990s
> would have been like without this open exchange of ideas.
> -=Fozz
> --
> fozz at is Doran L. Barton, president, Iodynamics LLC
> Iodynamics: Linux solutions - Web development - Business connectivity
> "Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar."
>    -- Seen in a Norwegian cocktail lounge
> .===================================.
> | This has been a P.L.U.G. mailing. |
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