[p2p-research] Building Alliances

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 7 06:36:15 CET 2009

comments inline ...

On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 5:44 AM, J. Andrew Rogers <reality.miner at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 12:44 PM, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > they undoubtedly produce less during this catch-up phase, but that may be
> > temporary, as it was with Japan, which was also accused of copying early
> on,
> > and has been highly innovative, where would the U.S. be without Toyotism?
> You misunderstood.  The Japanese innovate, indeed they spend quite a
> bit of money on it.  However, almost any way you tally up the
> innovations and technological advancements they produce for the amount
> of money they spend, the *return* on the amount of R&D capital at
> their disposal is not particularly high as such things go.
> R&D is hopefully about maximizing useful output for the money spent in
> aggregate, not R&D theater. Productivity of R&D varies widely by
> country and source. China spends less on R&D than Japan, but an
> argument can be made that it is rapidly becoming more productive.
> > As far as I
> > know, for years, VC's want to go green, but are hampered by mainstream
> > concentrated financial capital, which supports forces that go against the
> > emergence of green capitalism
> Eh? There is far too much capital chasing green tech in VC-land. They
> are hampered only by the lack of green tech worth investing in.

There are very clear statements by VC's that they need massive government
investment to make the transition viable.

> While it is true that Web 2.0 is not capital intensive, very little of
> Web 2.0 is "innovative" by the usual definition of the word.

Well let's just say that for millions of people, their lives have radically
changed, and that's a good definition of innovation for me. Before that, the
participatory elements of the web were only available to a much smaller
elite of internet users. What I see is a world of constant improvements
coming from many different quarters, aided by the 'open source' characters
of the process.

> My point, obviously missed, is that in reality funding does not work
> the way you think it works. You are assuming that some sources of
> funding are less important to innovation than they actually are. Some
> types of funding are far more political and prone to fashion than
> others.
> For example, you missed an important source of funding for extremely
> technical startup ventures that is useful: large companies. You can
> get paid to simply finish R&D on a product they can buy from you
> retail if it solves a problem they care about. (It makes economic
> sense for the large companies if that problem is costing them many
> millions or they can improve profits by several millions if that
> problem is solved. The may take no stake in the venture at all, they
> just want to be able to buy the product of it as soon as possible.)
> > I think it is too early to say, and I've read research by for example
> > Lakhami that says otherwise, pointing out one study for example showing
> how
> > most innovations come from the outside, and that experiments such as
> > Innocentive, and the recent Netflix experiment, were quite successfull
> I think you are over-generalizing a narrow case. Yes, most innovations
> come from the "outside", but that outside is "inside" somewhere else.

The point though, is that the hard distinctions between inside and outside,
between corporate and distributed, innovation are eroding, not hardening.

> All of that costs money.  R&D on theoretical computer science seems to
> take several months to a year to produce a successful result. A lot of
> R&D topics in software are related to massive parallelism and
> distribution -- testbeds at that scale don't grow on trees. Turning
> that research into a useful piece of software or code a mere mortal
> can use often requires many man-years of very boring code work that
> you have to pay smart people to do.

that would be the case for some innovation, the important think is that we
live in a plural world, needing different ways to  fund different types of
innovation. Perhaps such types as you describe are already well-funded,
other types of innovation that produce very useful social results, are
underfunded, for example pharma research being directed to diseases
affecting a minority of the rich world population, as compared to diseases
massively affecting the masses in developing countries. It is these failures
we need to address.

> > Take movies, according to your logic, only big star, moderately
> intelligent
> > but very expensive movies would make it and be necessary and count as
> > innovation, as opposed to the many fine movies that have been produced
> > worldwide, often through public funding. Do we really want a world with
> only
> > the Transformers, and without Fellini and the French New Wave.
> Again, "my logic"?  What does that even mean? You are assuming things
> I never said.

You have explicated your scarcity logic in another contribution. It is those
underlying assumptions that I challenge. And much of my reactions are
probably heightened by the incredible certainty in which otherwise
controversial positions are asserted as truth, so I feel that I must
reciprocate in a similar way. One's own experience always has to be put in
the context of other people's experiences, and economics is a field of great
controversy and interests, not just hard and easy facts.


> --
>  J. Andrew Rogers
> realityminer.blogspot.com
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