Let's use environmentalism as an analogy. There is a place for an absolutist intellectual position, when it comes to the underlying science. However, much of the tremendous progress that has been made with respect to the global environment has been a tenacious "foot in the door, while they're slamming it" struggle, where allies and politics are vital. This is why I found the FSF animosity towards "Open Source" perplexing. If a group is advocating for freedom, I find it perplexing when they seem to be coercing me to be free in exactly the way they deem correct. While leadership is vital in any movement (I think that leaderless movements generally fall off the rails and tend to spawn extremist groups) one of the primary reasons leadership is vital is to set the tone and morality of the movement. A firm philosophical and intellectual grounding is also vital, but it can't stand alone if the tone and morality of the movement allows it to succumb to any human group's natural tendency towards jingoism. RMS always got the intellectual far-seeing right. In terms of tone and politics: fairly close to dead wrong. Basically, he could impress college aged me, then alienate working aged me.
I think you've misread something somewhere. Here is what the FSF says about "Open Source," and it doesn't seem like animosity: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.htm...
"We disagree on the basic principles, but agree more or less on the practical recommendations. So we can and do work together on many specific projects."
Their stance has moderated over the decades. Also, it's not only what I've read from them online, I'm also referring to direct person to person interactions. Again, it's not the intellectual underpinnings, it's the stuff around it. If they're cleaning up their act in terms of outreach, then power to them. I would love to see a more politically effective FSF.
* Software freedom is important because it produces quality software.
* Software freedom is important because it protects the user from mistreatment.
Open Source is important because it gives both users and developers control. Open Source is the ability to fork.
And the irony of the situation is that these ideals where also embodied in Free Software, however the FSF has forgotten them, at least judging by their current behavior.
For example AGPL should not be considered either an open-source or a free software license, because it redefines what redistribution is, effectively placing limits on usage. Up until GCC version 4.5 it didn't support plugins, being a monolithic thing, out of fear that proprietary tools could make use of it; you can thank LLVM for the positive changes in that area. And here's a recent fuckup of the FSF, that's very close to my heart, because I'm an Emacs user - apparently Emacs must hate MacOS, even though many Emacs contributors and plugins authors are using it: https://github.com/emacs-mirror/emacs/blob/emacs-25.1/etc/NE...
Which meant that as soon as you distributed GPL licensed software you also had to adhere to the license of sharing your improvements in source code.
Then when the internet through the web became popular you could use GPL software without distributing it and many use cases which didn't exist previously for the distribution options in GPL just didn't create the intended effect where users who changed the software and distributed it should also share their changes.
I would argue that AGPL didn't redefine what distribution is, but the capabilities and the use of the web redefined what distribution is, through software as a service. AGPL was an attempt to align the license with the original intent of GPL, which was to say that if you redistributed the software and change it, share your changes.
I'd largely disagree with that. I see "Open source" described (and describe it myself) as something that has many advantages as a way of developing software and developing communities (users and developers) around that software. But, at the same time, it's absolutely about letting users maintain control and being able to directly influence the direction of development.
> The mere ability to read source isn't enough to support independent peer review and rapid evolutionary selection. For rapid evolution to happen, people need to be able to experiment with and redistribute modifications.
No mention of user freedoms or why this is important to users, just some nebulous claim that this is related to "evolution" and "experimentation".
The entire OSD is written like this, with claims that the 10 completely-arbitrary-with-no-real-logic-behind-them tennants of "open source" will somehow make your software better. How? They don't say. The four software freedoms make sense if you discuss them from the context of freedom, but the 10 "open source" rights don't make sense outside the context of freedom.
"Open source" was meant to be a way to frame the discussion in different terms. Yet by saying that it was "for the explicit purpose of de-emphasizing user freedom" you sneakily imply motives to the people who coined and promoted the term. Once parsed out, rhetorically it's about as sensible as post-9/11 "they hate us for our freedom" discourse in the US.
Yes, and the free software movement's main "terms" are user freedom. So by your own admission, "open source" was coined to de-emphasising user freedom (or rather, framing the discussion around "terms" different than user freedom). It's a matter of public record where the term "Open Source" came from.
"Open source", as a term, is about emphasizing a different set of benefits that come from license terms that let anyone run, modify and distribute code for any purpose they choose. The careful way you word your comments to highlight negatives and avoid positives makes it seem obvious that you don't like that and want to make it sound sinister when it isn't. My advice to you would be, if you're going to lie, at least be honest about it!
Because such an argument would be incorrect (not just a "re-framing", it would be a fundamentally flawed argument). Aside from the naming, free software fundamentally gives users the right to sell software as well.
> The careful way you word your comments to highlight negatives and avoid positives makes it seem obvious that you don't like that and want to make it sound sinister when it isn't.
The positives of "open source" are the same positives as free software. The only difference is the framing, which is a negative IMO. I'm not sure how you'd like me to discuss my issues with "open source" -- should I list the benefits (that are identical to free software) while doing a comparison to free software? Such a comparison would be redundant.
The only tangible benefit of the term "open source" is that it is more friendly to corporations because "free" has two meanings in English. But since it only takes a minute or two to clarify the meaning, I don't see why that should be a priority when the downside is that you don't educate users about the importance of user freedom.
I have no idea who first put the words "open source" together, and neither do you. I think it's much more likely someone grabbed the term and added their own agenda to it after it was already popular. Regardless, assuming the original intention was as you claim, that doesn't mean everyone who uses that term now shares that view.
Perhaps you should read the site in question rather than guessing.
> The “open source” label was created at a strategy session held on February 3rd, 1998 in Palo Alto, California, shortly after the announcement of the release of the Netscape source code. [..] The conferees also believed that it would be useful to have a single label that identified this approach and distinguished it from the philosophically- and politically-focused label "free software." Brainstorming for this new label eventually converged on the term "open source", originally suggested by Christine Peterson.
"Revision 1.29 February 9 1998 esr
Changed ``free software'' to ``open source''. "
Anything else I said still stands though - including that it's foolish to try and paint everyone with the same brush.
You can be sure I would have done that with MS Office and OneDrive in the File menu, or reboots without permission on Windows 10 if I could.
With a bit less animosity further down:
"The official definition of “open source software” (which is published by the Open Source Initiative and is too long to include here) was derived indirectly from our criteria for free software. It is not the same; it is a little looser in some respects. Nonetheless, their definition agrees with our definition in most cases."
“This procedure thus implies a certain logic of exception: every ideological Universal–for example freedom, equality–is 'false’ in so far as it necessarily includes a specific case which breaks its unity, lays open its falsity. Freedom, for example: a universal notion comprising a number of species (freedom of speech and press, freedom of consciousness, freedom of commerce, political freedom, and so on) but also, by means of a structural necessity, a specific freedom (that of the worker to sell freely his own labour on the market) which subverts this universal notion. That is to say, this freedom is the very opposite of effective freedom: by selling his labour 'freely’, the worker loses his freedom–the real content of this free act of sale is the worker’s enslavement to capital. The crucial point is, of course, that it is precisely this paradoxical freedom, the form of its opposite, which closes the circle of 'bourgeois freedoms’. - Slavoj Zizek
Freedom is one such example since it cannot belong to everyone when competing interests are at play. That might be a strange way to slice it though, since the language we use to describe freedom is probably not as well defined as we think.
"proprietary modifications will not be allowed"
Stallman wrote my favorite text editor, and the original version of the C compiler I've fiddled with for the past decade, so I can't complain about the guy. He's a living legend. I just think that the potential negative results of hard-line free software purism don't get enough discussion within the free software community.
I see misunderstandings and misstatements. Firstly, it's incorrect to say he has no idea of the current state of affairs "outside his freedom bubble" (a term that sounds derogatory and insulting to me). Look up his posts on Uber, AirBnB, Amazon  and several others and decide for yourself if he seems as clueless as you believe him to be (but remember he always talks from the premise of freedom). First hand experience is not a necessity in order to criticize something. We all criticize things without first hand experience, based on hearsay, based on what we've read on social media (just because something came from "a friend") and so on.
He does resort to strong absolutist positions in his posts, but do we have anyone else like him in the world? Honestly, I consider myself a "weak person" who succumbs to the pleasures of life taking the easy route when I look at his writings and his stance, and I wish we had more people like him with a lot more money and influence to fight for our freedoms and create things that would make the world and its people free over time (whereas in the last few decades we've been seeing our freedoms taken and controlled by large, fast growing corporations).
But I went to hear him speak a while back and came away feeling more anti-free-software than before hearing him.
I feel that sometimes we expect that an acceptable outcomes is reachable. Sadly, it often isn't. A large part of my growing up has been realizing this.
More to the point, the only real mistake I see environmentalism might have made is come in too hard in the middle. We needed to stir up the shit to get enough people on board. But after that, you need to calm down and get grinding on affecting change. Shooting down progressive action for 'not being good enough' is a great way of preventing progress.
A more hard line stance on greenhouse gas emissions is an alternative. You can claim that this isn't a viable alternative, but viability is made by a majority trying.
I'm not just looking at outcomes. Ten years ago we knew that immediately halting greenhouse emissions wasn't enough to stop climate change, but there wasn't even a push to do that. We weren't even trying for desirable outcomes, so I don't think it's unreasonable to say our methods were bad.
> I feel that sometimes we expect that an acceptable outcomes is reachable. Sadly, it often isn't. A large part of my growing up has been realizing this.
You claim that taking a hard line stance for an acceptable outcome is unreachable, but the right has been making this work for years. They take an extreme right stance, even more extreme than they want, knowing that the left will compromise and the right will get what they want.
You can't claim that compromise is a winning strategy when over and over the left compromises and loses while the right takes hard line stances and wins.
> More to the point, the only real mistake I see environmentalism might have made is come in too hard in the middle. We needed to stir up the shit to get enough people on board. But after that, you need to calm down and get grinding on affecting change. Shooting down progressive action for 'not being good enough' is a great way of preventing progress.
History does not bear out this assertion.
I disagree with this.
There are things you can (are allowed to) do, things you know you can't do, and things that are inconceivable / impossible.
His position is that #2 is evil (because knowing you could fix that printer driver if only you were allowed to is fucking annoying), and there is a moral duty to minimize it.
I think that #1 is good and should be maximized, and there is very little practical difference between #2 and #3. Minimizing #2 at the expense of also reducing #1 is bad and harmful.
In practice, there is a flow of things from #3 to #2 to #1. Things are moved out of the impossible with funds from paying customers, and then made open by people re-implementing them once the hard exploratory part is done.
There is also a smaller flow of things directly from #3 to #1. Some research is publicly funded or due to individual curiosity, instead of corporate internal. Some kinds of products can be funded from support instead of initial sales.
Destroying category #2 would choke off the first, much larger, flow. The second would not be able to make up the difference. This result would be good according to Stallman's ethics / priorities. I think it would be bad.
Note that there is some flaw to #3 to #2 even when public funding is involved. Many patents were born that way. This abomination should of course stop yesterday. Because right now, the flow from #3 to #1 is smaller than it has rights to be.
Destroying #2 doesn't have to choke off the flow from the impossible to the possible, if adjust our society around it. Stuff like ending capitalism may do. (Of course, let's not do USSR "communism", it obviously didn't work. To be honest, I'm not sure what a good solution should look like. But I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve mega-corporations that own more money than entire nation-states.)
I honestly cannot tell exactly what the parent comment is referring to with #1 #2 #3, but a mutual change of societal incentives for writing software enabled by Free Software is what RMS suggested in the GNU Manifesto:
"In the long run, making programs free is a step toward the postscarcity world, where nobody will have to work very hard just to make a living. People will be free to devote themselves to activities that are fun, such as programming"
In response to “Programmers need to make a living somehow.”
> All sorts of development can be funded with a Software Tax:
> Suppose everyone who buys a computer has to pay x percent of the price as a software tax. The government gives this to an agency like the NSF to spend on software development.
Just what software needs. A bunch of politics to decide who gets funded and who doesn't
In response to “Won't everyone stop programming without a monetary incentive?”
> What the facts show is that people will program for reasons other than riches; but if given a chance to make a lot of money as well, they will come to expect and demand it. Low-paying organizations do poorly in competition with high-paying ones, but they do not have to do badly if the high-paying ones are banned.
So the GNU solution is to ban making money from software. Hmmm
No. That's a misreading, and you're taking it out of context. The GNU solution there is to ban proprietary software companies doing their thing (those companies happen to be high-paying as a consequence of doing what Stallman thinks should be banned).
It's a reasonable point, if your ethics are such that what the high-paying software companies do is, on the face of it, unethical. Sure, the ethical software producers might make less money, but that's not the same thing. Mind you, after banning the unethical ones, they might make more than they did before.
For the analagous argument, everyone agrees that pre-1860, the highest-paying cotton producers in the USA should have been banned - not because they were the richest, but because of what they did to become the richest.
WRT the second one, shouldn't we be free to write closed source software?
The list at the beginning: things you can do (#1), things you're not allowed to do (#2), things that are still in the great unknown (#3). Hadn't realized that was confusing, thanks.
In the long run, making programs free is a step toward the postscarcity world
This both is putting the cart somewhat before the horse, and works better by increasing category #1 (what you can do) rather than destroying category #2 (what you're not allowed to do).
So should we limit companies that operate at a global scale to revenue or profits to that of the worlds smallest nations? Where do you draw your line? Or do you limit companies from ever operating at the scale that many of them do? What has permitted them to get so big in the first place and is that a good or bad thing?
It's all very well in theory, but it doesn't work in practice.
I don't think principles are matters of fact. A set of principles may be consistent with each other, and/or you may agree with them, but that is not to say that one who holds them is correct.
Stallman is flexible enough to accept using closed hardware, closed firmware shipped with a device, non-GPL licenses.
On the other hand, patent and copyright laws...
I'd say it's the exact opposite: Stallman is a hopeless idealist with absolutely no anchor in reality. The only thing that keeps the FSF relevant is the people running it besides Stallman.
Stallman is completely wrong in all these statements.
He's very shortsighted in fact, his views are 19th century if anything, and they're not even very intellectually founded, or well expressed.
Do not dismiss him too quickly.
By the way, the concept of IP is obviously dysfunctional: ideas and expressions are non rival goods. They are not moved, borrowed, nor stolen; they are only copied from substrate to substrate (be it a mind, a piece of paper, or a computer). Property rules simply don't work there.
What does work is monopoly rules, such as copyright, patents, and trademarks. The use of "property" to describe such limited state granted monopolies is an obvious piece of newspeak, an Orwellian ploy to make those laws look better than they are, and frame the discussion: if you're against monopoly, you're a normal person. If you're against property, you must be a thief of sorts.
Your argument against "nonrival" would imply that if a manufacturer creates surplus product, its ok to steal the surplus because no one else needa it.. even if they go bankrupt because no one then buys the non surplus.
And a Marxist would say that labor ia property, and its rheft to deprive a laborer of ownership of their labor. All property is a legal fiction, you cant arbitrarily decide that one kind ia legitimate and the others aren't. Rivalry is just one factor.
I may side with the Native Americans on that one.
There is this idea of a Land Value Tax, where most or all taxes would be taken on naked soil. Such a tax would effectively abolish land ownership, because everyone would effectively rent it from the state. Long story short, it looks like it might work.
you'll think differently once you've planted your crops in it
Nowhere does rms claim this implication, so this is just a strawman. He doesn't even oppose "IP" as a whole (except for the term itself), just those restrictions which conflict with the Four Freedoms.
Says the person who fails to make a single argument to justify their position.
It essentially doesn’t matter what a company is currently doing or “promises” to do or not do, if those behaviors are not legally binding. And even then, if you have to read a hundred-page document to figure out what the legal binding is, assume that the company has carefully placed a nice escape hatch somewhere in their legalese.
It was supposed to be true that if one vendor does something you don’t like, you simply “vote with your wallet” and go to one that you do like. That works great when buying toasters. Yet now, with essentially your whole life tied up in one or two devices and key services like Internet being dictated by one company based on where you live, it is REALLY hard to just walk away from one crappy technology experience and find something you like better. This is a real sign that it is not a good idea to have so much technology powered by so few corporations.
I want to know when the average person gets on a computer, and surfs around, what data do they expect is kept for just themselves vs shared with the service.
I've seen people tell other people to "get off MY feed!" as if it's a thing they own and can control. As long as the platform can maintain this illusion, everyone will be happy.
shitposting on public facebook posts is a lot of fun
The continued expansion of IP rights and copyright extension is part of the same shift.
I wonder how rms would reconciliate that. Maybe we can get there the difference between opensource and freesoftwares?
In any way, having big companies publishing opensource code tell us how past we are the time when every single company will just publish proprietary software and let you guess the specs.
1. Getting intelligent people to work on projects for free. This is actually rarer than it sounds. But it does happen.
2. Protecting dependencies. Once a large company depends on a piece of technology, it has a vested interest in the future of that piece of technology. For proprietary code bases, this might mean buying the supplier. For open source, it means getting involved in the project.
3. It's their business model. Create a popular open source project and then provide paid support to organisations that use it.
4. Recruitment. Getting involved in the communities where skilled people hang out, and being seen to be involved in those communities, is great for recruiting those skilled people.
5... other reasons (I thought of a few more but decided not to attempt an exhaustive list)
It's all commercial reasons - how to make more money from this software project.
RMS' view often seems to come from a place where all commercial organisations are inherently evil and out to do their users harm.
I believe that 99.9% of the market for a piece of software are never going to be interested in taking responsibility for the safety of that software. You can give them all the rights you like, but they're not going to use them. The supplier of a piece of software will always be held responsible for its safety. It's not surprising that the supplier will attempt to exert some kind of control over the use of the software, if only to reduce their liability.
Again, commercial interests. Trying to do the best thing for everyone.
Yes, this was the thinking in early 2000', and indeed this was a proper reaction to the windows context back then. But I don't think that's what rms is fighting for anymore, I would state it more like : "if I bought it, then I own it", like when you buy a house, you can do any change in it you want. That's what is puzzling me in the linked statement, it sounds a lot like we're back in the 2000'. I guess shortness of statement is killing its details.
Except when you can't. HOA rules, or municipal regulations can prevent you. Other rules and regulations applies as well.
Instead of thinking from "corporations vs. us", a better approach would be to think of humanity as a single entity.
I do understand that all this "open software" movement could have an impact because it was very polarizing and moved a lot of people. But in a world where open source is the norm, it should not be about fighting against corporations. The discussion should be on a higher level.
For example, you should think deeper about why it looks like: "While corporations dominate society and write the laws, each advance or change in technology is an opening for them to further restrict or mistreat its users".
Only when you look deeper into the corporation's motivations you'll be able to figure out a way to defeat this. Otherwise it just reads like a rant.
It's actually pretty simple - money, power. Corporations are amoral machines; if there's something that brings profits and they can get away with legally, some corp will eventually do it (same seems to apply to small companies).
> Instead of thinking from "corporations vs. us", a better approach would be to think of humanity as a single entity.
Thinking like this was always the hallmark of my life. But the more I interact with actual people, and not just high-school friends but random people; CEOs and coworkers and shopowners and cleners - the more I realize there is a split there. Some of us think of humanity as a single entity worth caring about. Others don't give a fuck. They think of "me, family and friends vs. the rest of the world". Which makes it easy to justify fucking "the rest of the world" for profit. I don't really know how humanity is to reconcile those two worldviews.
1. Corporations behave like sociopaths.
2. Corporations don't really exist. They're a legal fiction that, in reality, is just a group of people working towards a common goal (maximum profit).
I wonder if it's counter-productive to think and speak of corporations as some sort of separate entity to the people it is composed of. I think the notion that 'corporations are evil sociopaths' is one of those thought-stopping 'mind-killers'. Corporations don't have intent, good or bad; they don't really exist (except in our minds).
As harsh as it may sound, if we want a 'corporation' to behave ethically, then we should assign blame to those that are perpetrating the harm: to the employees, managers and owners of that corporation. It's their collective efforts and actions that have led to unethical outcomes, not the singular effort of some invisible corporate spectre.
I think it's the only possible way to fight this 'diffusion of responsibility' that allows a whole bunch of (mostly) normal people to all do tiny unethical acts that, when viewed in aggregate, are abhorrent. I suspect whatever the best solution is will be similar (or analogous) to how you overcome the 'bystander effect': rather than saying 'someone call 911', say 'you, guy in the red shirt (point at him), call 911'.
tl;dr - It turns out the Ring of Gyges is not a ring at all. It's a multi-story building filled with rows of cubicles.
The same can be applied to governments (though I believe it's less of a problem than with corporations): it's not "the government" that's fucking things up, it's the people in it.
I see your suggestion of overcoming "diffusion of responsibility" as a way to kill the alien being corporation is. When you force things to be set up in such a way a single individual (or a small group) is ultimately responsible for some area of corporate behaviour, you reduce the chance of corporation displaying some emergent behaviour that no human can prevent or vouch for. Seems like an interesting and maybe even good idea to me.
Something changed, and I'm not 100% sure what. Tech is reflecting the larger political trends of the world where strong man rule and other forms of authoritarianism are ascendant.
I do think the driver is democratic to an extent. People seem to be demanding less freedom in exchange for convenience, security, simplicity, etc... in tech and in life.
Murphy's law, Betteridge's law, or other facetious laws are at least roughly formulated as "if X, then Y" (or sometimes "Y happens"), which mimics the structure of actual scientific laws. Stallman's statement is formulated as "if X, then maybe Y" (or "Y could happen").
Well he did, so apparently you can.
Also, you definitely can, tongue-in-cheek, call a general statement a "law." It's not meant to be taken in a literal sense; it's meant for humorous or broadly pragmatic effect.
"If corporations write the laws, then maybe they will restrict or mistreat their users." That's not a law.
As soon as profit maximization is at odds with the user's interests (that's pretty much all the time), the corporation will naturally act against the user's interests.
From this, I'm pretty sure "law" is a relatively accurate descriptor.
Rule #1: Keep Them Afraid
Rule #2: Keep Them Isolated
Rule #3: Keep Them Desperate
Rule #4: Send Out The Jackboots
Rule #5: Blame Everything On The Truth Seekers
Rule #6: Encourage Citizen Spies
Rule #7: Make Them Accept The Unacceptable
Point is, corruption played such a major role in building the modern world it's impossible to get rid of while maintaining capitalism as it stands.
The old school solution would be a bloody revolution. Needless to say, not something I'm in favour of. On top of that, modern surveillance makes me very pessimistic as to its outcome. (Could that be a measure to determine what's too much surveillance? When revolution becomes impossible?)
I don't have a history of political activism, and haven't done a lot of reading on it, either, so anyone can rightly accuse me of some level of earnest, well-meaning naïvieté. I'm also not much of a politician, so that naïvieté counts double.
Any suggestions I'm putting forward are suggestions and ideas for me, first.
- Continue to honestly and charitably engage as much as possible with people that may not agree with me. Refrain from speaking from emotion, taking extra time to word things as best as I can. The goal should always be to reach understanding, if not agreement. And not agreeing is okay. Remember that if I don't have an open mind to understand their point of view, it's very unlikely they'll be open to understanding mine. Keep in mind Rapoport's Rules as much as possible, as well as understand how others can come to different political positions (Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind" is a great resource for this.)
- Push back when possible against the idea that government is a business. There are definitely areas of overlap and skills that can be useful in both domains, but the two are not, nor should they be, the same.
- Work to increase election security. It's largely non-partisan and in everyone's best interest. verifiedvoting.org looks like a great place to start. In particular, push to remove direct recording electronic voting machines.
- Work to increase transparency into government. Support work like that of the Sunlight Foundation (which unfortunately looks like it's shutting down), and other open government organizations, both monetarily and letting people know that this type of information is available.
- Actually contact my representatives to express my views on issues that are important to me.
- With respect to corruption directly, recognize that this is also a largely non-partisan issue. Different types of corruption are important to different people, and that's okay. Be especially open to accusations of corruption of those you support. Learn as much as you can about the situation. If they're groundless, lay out that evidence civilly and calmly. If there is some support for them, be up front about it. After all, you want the people you support to be open and forthright, and with integrity. If they're seriously corrupt, do you really want them to represent you or support you, even if they agree with you on a lot of issues? And accept across the board that things aren't likely to change overnight, that sometimes compromises need to be made.
- Learn more about how comparable issues have been resolved in the past. The first that comes to mind wrt corruption is Tammany Hall.
- Don't try to solve all the problems. Pick one that's important to you so you don't spread yourself too thin. Remember that for most there's more to life than just politics.
Looking over this list, it does look hand-wavy. That said, the current polarization is one of the most troublesome issues we're facing. It prevents us from working together on the things we agree on. So while "listen more, understand those you disagree with" may sound Pollyannaish, I honestly think it's crucial.
Edit to add:
[-1]: Figure out for yourself beforehand what the tipping point is for increased political action. I found Dan Carlin's most recent "Common Sense" podcast episode "Trumped" useful in thinking about this particular topic.
I've been thinking about (2) recently, and a separation of Bank and State akin to the separation of Church and State came to mind.
For one, completely disallow gov. officials to get on a private lobbying payroll and vice-versa. Infringement by not naming the position "lobbyist" but "turd sandwich" provokes harshest penalties and analysis of the person's work during their time in Congress or wherever in order to find dishonest activity (which ideally would then be rolled back. Easier said than done).
Secondly, make bail-outs impossible. When a private company fucks up, that's by definition a private problem, not a public one. The public cannot be forced to account for a private entity's stupidity or evilness.
Couldn't agree more with (4). Without having explored the question far and wide, I'd say
- Public entities have no right to obscurity except in very specific cases like access to and storage of peoples' private data. That implies that certain data is stored in a way it can only be decrypted by the owner or an authorized third party (owner issues a key to th.p.), while other data is completely open.
- Private entities, on the other hand, have complete protection (freedom of speech|thought|religion, yadda yadda).
- Private-public entities like multinational corporations (the tiny general store 'round the corner is private, not sure where to draw the line; when there's more than one branch/subsidiary?) have a mix of those rights, i.e. perfect, undiscriminating accountability and transparency has to be possible should enough doubt crop up about the company's honesty.
(1)(5)(6)(7) Yes. Better communication, more honesty and personal responsibility certainly go a long way to improving the situation and empowering the people.
(8) Very important. Personally, I don't engage much in my local politics other than reading the paper and voting. The only demos I've ever been on where against TTIP, which is as much an economic issue as it is a political one. I like to say "Do you part and hope for the best", and my part is in software. In the mean time, let's hope nothing craps out.
"Listen more, understand those you disagree with" is crucial. There is disagreement, so obviously there's a problem somewhere that the other side doesn't know about. Understanding the other side means understanding other peoples' problems, means having a broader view of the situation, means having better tools to do something about it. Good communication is key, but honesty is crucial. To quote Wilde: "Anybody can say charming things and try to please and to flatter, but a true friend always says unpleasant things, and does not mind giving pain. Indeed, if he is a really true friend he prefers it, for he knows that then he is doing good."
I'd argue the same thing for corporations as I would for governments: we shouldn't tolerate individuals, occupying some powerful position, who harm others due to their own 'ethical carelessness'. In fact, that seems like a reasonable standard to apply to individuals, full stop. Individuals should be held accountable for their actions; we shouldn't shunt the blame to some incorporeal concept (i.e. 'governments', 'corporations').
However, each technological advance is also an opportunity to break free from restrictions and mistreatment from the previous status quo.