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- From: Eric Bohlman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: XML DEV <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 13:28:11 -0600
12/22/00 8:45:50 AM, "Thomas B. Passin" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>Come on, guys, both ways are needed and I bet both of you really think that
>way, too. Some things need group or organizational solutions, some are
>done individually or on a small scale - even if the wheel get reinvented from
>time to time. The balance constantly shifts.
>For the car example, most of us couldn't afford a car if it were individually
>designed and build. And we wouldn't have any roads. And you couldn'd drive
>anyone else's car. without training. The way the subject of this list may
>in to this is the possibility of changes in the balance - of loosening up
>way organizations work.
Suggested reading: Chapter 10 ("Standards and Regulations") of W. Edwards
Deming's _Out of the Crisis_. Deming describes just how much of what we know
as commerce is possible only because participants in marketplaces have agreed
to standardize rather than reinventing the wheel, and points out that in many
cases industry standardization can forestall or reduce the need for government
regulations. To a great extent, free enterprise is based on companies working
together rather than against each other.
IMHO, a classic example of a good balance between regulation, standardization,
and individual innovation was the introduction of FM stereo in the US. The
Federal Communications Commission told the industry to get together and create
a single standard for FM stereo transmission, which would then be adopted by
the FCC. It worked, because once the standard was created, all the players in
the market knew that their equipment would be interoperable. If the FCC had
unilaterally imposed a standard of its own devising, we'd have had at best a
technically inferior solution. If the FCC had done what they later did with
regard to AM stereo, namely let the marketplace sort out a bunch of competing
solutions, it's unlikely that FM stereo would have caught on. Why? Because
the risks would have been too high for most players in the marketplace.
Unless the broadcasters, studio equipment manufacturers, radio manufacturers,
and automobile manufacturers (the biggest buyers of radio receivers) all
happened to independently adopt the same proposal, all the parties would be
left with warehouses full of boat anchors. A risk-taking rugged individual
might have found that acceptable, but most of the parties concerned are
publicly traded corporations, whose shareholders will take their management to
court if the management invests money in ventures whose expected ROI is less
than that of Treasury securities.