Responding to Martin Geddes

There are lots of social values created by internet use that aren’t adequately “paid for” by individual internet subscribers, and aren’t appropriately appropriated by network owners.  Innovation is one of those positive spillovers that we don’t want to allow a single property owner to own forever, because the second innovator might do a better job with the idea.  Same thing online — the network owners shouldn’t necessarily be allowed to internalize all of these externalities, because we can’t assume that optimal social values will be the result.  Rewarding a single innovator isn’t always the best thing to do.

This was a poor excerpt to illustrate the title, it’s just such a good point I wanted to bring it out.  Benefits that don’t accrue to the operator, essential, the more the merrier.  Relates to monopoly generally, telco, copyright, patent et al.  A point that those dismissing Metcalfe’s Law overlooked, no the n^2 factor does not accrue to the operator, leaving value on the table makes renting seats at the table easier.

More selected Martin Geddes

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