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   Re: local, global (was various ontology, RDF, topic maps)

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  • From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
  • To: "W. E. Perry" <wperry@fiduciary.com>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 16:00:46 -0700 (MST)

Martin Bryan:

> > Depends on your view of locally. Here in Europe we are trying to create a
> > Single Market. The problem is that this single market is multilingual and
> > multi-industry. CEN/ISSS has groups working on ontologies for engineering,
> > medical supplies, furniture manufacture, shoes, ... There are significant
> > amounts of overlap in these ontologies, but no knowledge of what each other
> > has done or is doing. Trying to get them to stop reinventing the wheel is a
> > real problem.

Walter Perry:

> At the risk--nay, the certainty--of sounding intractably (18th century?)
> American:  re-inventing the wheel is the fundamental mechanism of
> entrepreneurship, free markets and, ultimately, self-definition and
> self-determination of a polity. The difference between a command economy and an
> entrepreneurial one can be swiftly ascertained with this simple test:  are the
> producers implementing a pre-agreed common denominator, or have they uniquely
> internalized a nominal definition of their output, from which their actual
> product and its definition constantly refine and redefine one another. Whatever
> one's philosophical sympathies, the difference is inescapable to the honest
> observer, as is the answer of which is the more aware and solicitous of, and
> responsive to, the circumstances of its actual consumers.

Hmm.  I disagree.  I think Henry Ford effectively scatched the idea that
there is value in reinventing the wheel, within the scope of his
operation.  Since then there have been many all-american examples of
effective, capitalist commerce without wheel re-invention.

I think the 18th-century American insistence on re-inventing the wheel,
obliquely mocked by Oscar Wilde in _The Canterville Ghost_, is no matter
for emulation.  In system one, you have every town's doctor dispensing his
own sovereign specific for afflictions of the humor.  In system two, you have
a few companies making and selling medicines, and you have parmacies in
each town merely distributing the products, with regulatory and
commercial controls of quality and other factors.  Now outside of villatic
romance, do you really think system one superior to system two?

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com
4735 East Walnut St, Ste. C, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
Software-engineering, knowledge-management, XML, CORBA, Linux, Python


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