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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Keep Taxpayer Dollars Out of Bill Gates' Pocket

Believe it or not, the Adam Smith Institute blog sometimes provides something besides fodder for negative posts. When it does, there's a pretty good chance Alex Singleton is the author. In "Should UK education be switching to OpenOffice?" Singleton argues that open source software would reduce computer costs by half in primary schools and by a quarter in secondary schools.

Of course, since "public" schools are spending (in Milton Friedman's phrase) other people's money on other people, they've got no real reason to want to save money. When the neighboring city of Siloam Springs voted down a millage increase for schools, the school administration announced shortly afterward that it was cancelling its planned purchase of new computers. Instead, it would upgrade existing computers at far less cost, with almost the same increase in performance. Well, well, well! If they hadn't had their money fix cut off, they wouldn't have even considered doing something that cost-effective.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am aware of quite a few Swedish public organizations exchanging their licensed Microsoft (and other professional business) software for open source competing software applications in order to save money. With the lack of service, upgrades, support, etc it has been a very costly "cut" of costs.

I wonder where/how someone would get the notion that an organization would lack service, upgrades and support by going with Free software.

Not only do the linux distributions themselves offer commercial upgrades/support, but most of the more integral software entities themselves - such as databases ( PostgreSQL, MySQL ), collaboration ( OpenXchange, Kolab, Sendmail ), file sharing ( Samba ), web application frameworks ( JBoss, Jeronimo, RubyOnRails, Zope, Catalyst, PHP ), etc, etc, etc... - also provide various forms/grades of support contracts.

July 29, 2006 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Open-source good, microsoft bad.

July 29, 2006 3:04 PM  
Blogger quasibill said...

Well, this is exactly the problem with the state, right? It can't even mimic an actual market participant, because it has no way of gathering the knowledge necessary. Even in Per's Swedish examples, the problem is that they have no way of knowing if they are being penny-wise but pound-foolish. I see it all the time in local government, where they cut corners on capital spending, and then spend years paying increased maintenance costs. Although in their case, I'm not entirely sure it isn't intentional (nice payback for contributors who are local contractors...)

July 30, 2006 4:33 AM  

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