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Ouch, the text you suggest is a bit too hard for me to read, as far as I can
judge from the summary. I have to read a bit more on psychology before being
able to understand Deleuze, I guess :).
Anyway, I found this discussion quite interesting. I have seen so many
occurences where people just rely on "the laws of the market" and hope that
those laws will lead to a better world, without ever thinking about the
possibility that they could as well lead us to a better world for anything
It's true for economics, it's also true for technologies : to see which
technology is the best, we just wait and see which one stand the test of
time. If it is still there after a year, while another disappear, then we
think 'ok, the one remaining is the good one, the other was the bad one'.
The problem is that by doing this, we are not taking an informed decision to
optimize technology in a way that it help us solve problems more easily. We
are instead just relying on hazards and opinion leaders and vendors to
choose for us. Thinking about the problem, and choosing one or more
solutions amongst a set of proposals is very, very hard ; but this is not an
excuse to just wait and see and hope that the outcome will benefit
I don't know if a better system exist, though. Maybe social interactions,
ego wars and politics would make the decision process last an infinite time,
so maybe natural selection is the only way to make things move. But in any
case, saying that a technology is preferable to another "because it is
widespread and successful" (e.g. XML Schema over RELAX NG), is just telling
that is it so because it is so.
By letting the market decide, we shift our technological objectives to
political objectives. To build on Stefano's points, this can lead us to a
situation where specs become so complicated that your only hope of using a
technology is to find someone that has the time and money to implement it,
and pay him for his implementation. Which once again means that technology,
which was once supposed to bring humanity peace and freedom ("by improving
crops yield, industrialised culture will allow us to keep up with the
increase of population"), becomes in fact an economic selection tool.
If we decide that to integrate to our high-tech economy, a third world
company must send us XML documents conforming to a given XML Schema, through
a complicated protocol (because "HTTP must die"), with high bandwidth
requirements, and so on, then we're simply saying "no, you can't do business
with us, because you're not rich enough to reach our technological
This has already happened with EDI, where big car constructors forced their
provider to use the technologies they used (at least in France), and only
the providers who could make the investment stayed in business.
This can happen with XML ; we'd better make sure that no piece of the XML
puzzle becomes too dependent of the others or becomes over-complicated,
otherwise we will miss the interoperability and openness target, for
economical reasons if not technological reasons.
>De : Stefano Debenedetti [mailto:email@example.com]
>Envoye : mercredi 27 mars 2002 17:33
>A : Manos Batsis
>Cc : Nicolas LEHUEN; XML DEV
>Objet : Re: [xml-dev] Capitalism and XML (was RELAX NG Marketing)
>I really think Manos Batsis got the point on this thread and, as the
>discussion followed with the advice of some French literature, I would
>like to propose this text  as a reference for anybody interested in
>understanding the lovely terminology Manos used in both posts.
>Please feel free to include me in any xml-dev spin-off debating these
>issues as, now, I think we really went OT :-)
>Manos Batsis wrote:
>>>From: Nicolas LEHUEN [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>>>My point is that you can only safely play the game of selection and
>>>competition is you have correctly defined your target. The
>>>winners of the
>>>capitalist game will likely not be humanity, but the game
>>>itself. A shift in
>>>objective is required if what matters is humanity, not money.
>> I wonder how many in the world have ever made that simple thought. We
>> seem to have established profit as the motive for evolution
>in a system
>> build before us, for us.
>> I have a view of things where an organism is anything
>non-static such as
>> the many systems build by humans: they have evolved into
>> serves who is the juice of the story.