cj#251/ANALYSIS> Society’s Three Sectors

1995-07-28

Richard Moore

Dear CJ,

Here's a thread from cyber-rights that is really more about analysis of
society than "rights" per se, and I'd like to share it as part of our
Analysis thread.

-rkm

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[extracts]

Sender: •••@••.••• (Glen Raphael)
Subject: Re: cr#803> Requests for information

>2) Newt Gingrich, in To Renew America, claims that the worldwide information
>network was created by "unknown entrepreneurs" and that the government would
>be totally incapable of creating it. I suspect he's wrong.

He's _partly_ right. Although the network itself is an offspring of the
government-funded ARPANET, most of the tools that made it really _useful_
were the creations of what I'd prefer to call "unsung heroes": people like
Larry Wall. Newsreaders, administration tools, games, web browsers and the
like have all come about in a decentralized fashion mostly as the creation
of individual grad students looking for a little fame or diversion within
their community. The net's current state was not created - and probably
could not have been created - from a top down government plan. Rather, it
evolved.

Yup, the net is largely the creation of a market process in which "the
respect of one's peers" was and still is the currency of choice. And the
people who do the most work holding it together -- FAQ maintainers, email
list moderators like our Mr. Moore, and the authors of perl, rn, nn and the
like -- are rarely paid in any other currency. But neither are these people
told what to do by any government committee.

In short, I'd say Mr. Gingrich is probably more right than he knows. I'd
even go so far as to call Richard K. Moore one of the "unknown
entrepeneurs" that make the net the wonderful - and useful - place that it
is.

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Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 12:51:35 -0700
To: "Multiple recipients of list •••@••.•••"

Sender: LECLERC YVES <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Re[2]: cr#807> caj: Cox/Wyden a "pig in a poke"

On Sat, 22 Jul 1995, Richard K. Moore wrote:

> I understand what Glen is getting at, in pointing out (correctly) that the
> net has evolved on a distributed basis, not as the result of central
> government planning.  But despite Glen's kind words in my direction, I must
> take strong exception to his attributing correctness to Mr. Gingrich's
> revisionist imaginings.

> With all respect, I find it a gross misrepresentation of the value of
> government and private-sector effectiveness to characterize those as being
> limited to what people are "told ... to do by any government committee".
> Not only was the net set up by government initiative, but the enrichment of
> the net by distributed voluntary efforts was very much part of what was
> intended by that initiative.

Hi Richard, Glen and the gang,

I've been mostly lurking in recent weeks -- working on my book and other
things, with too little time to take part in the various debates that
still interest me.

In this case, I feel you are both suffering from too narrow perceptions of
what is the "private" and the "public" sector and their respective roles.
To Glen, anything that is not direct government apparatus is "private",
including the Red Cross, the American Bar Association and (perish the
thought!) labor unions. To Richard, "private" is basically "corporate",
as far as I can see.

Try to imagine, as is recognized by a number of countries, that there can
be a "third sector" of society that is neither governement nor private
enterprise -- it is called "associative" in France, where they need to
have a neat category for everything under the sun. It would include NGOs,
associations and social clubs, churches and so on.

This, in fact, is one of the more interesting propositions put forth by
Peter Drucker in his "Post-capitalist Society" a couple years ago. The
way I see it in a very simplified form is, we then have:
 - public sector, motivation: power in and outside the structure;
 - private sector, motivation: profit and personal enrichment;
 - associative sector, motivation: participation and cooperation.

This categorization makes a lot of your discussed points quite a bit
clearer, and in fact would let you two (and others) agree on several
points where only semantics are keeping you apart. By the way, a large
part of the 'Net would fall in the third sector.

My last bit, though, is that for a fully functioning society (not only
economically, but socially, culturally and emotionally), all three
sectors are essential. Both government and corporations play useful
roles (the trick is to keep them in their right place), and both should
leave space for a third arena to exist where citizens can participate
from motives other that the pure quest for power or profits.

And this requires evolving mechanisms quite different from the tyranny of
central planification and regulation... and the equal but much less often
denounced tyranny of "the market".

Thoughts on this, anyone?

Yves Leclerc -- <•••@••.•••>
Montreal, Quebec

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 ~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~--~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~
 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland (USA citizen)
                 Moderator: CYBERJOURNAL (@CPSR.ORG)

    World Wide Web (shared with cyber-rights):
        http://jasper.ora.com/andyo/cyber-rights/cyber-rights.html
        http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~hwh6k/public/cyber-rights.html
    FTP:
        ftp://jasper.ora.com/pub/andyo/cyber-rights

You are encouraged to forward and cross-post messages and online materials,
pursuant to any contained copyright & redistribution restrictions.  For
commercial re-use, contact the appropriate author.
 ~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~--~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~




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