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Why would anywhere else have legal power to? .org doesn't sell domains directly to consumers, and ICANN is intentionally centralized, up until a few years ago being owned by the US government. US-owned US-created top-level domains are hardly an international affair.

You could argue that DNS is broken, and that ICANN is bad, but there's no legal argument for .org being subject to foreign governments.






thats a very US-centric view. not everything is monetary, certain things are simply setup with intent of management and responsibility in a global world. DNS is one of those things, GPS another. do note that neither of these are exclusively owned by the US, but rather that the US owns the responsibility to maintain these services that we all use. even the dollar as reserve is a fickle thing that could change if the rest of us choose to. with everything set in place and the technology readily available, we could all just drop the US as our client provider and tank the american economy. we don't, because shit like this isn't supposed to happen, but push hard enough, and it will. you already see russia and china going this route.

Other commenters have pointed out the flaw in your argument about DNS, but GPS, how can't you consider that as being exclusively owned by the US?

It's not like with domain names where some bytes are floating around in networks and it's easiest if we all use the US addressing system.

There are ≈ 40 hunks of metals up in space with extremely precise clocks, _completely_ essential to the functioning of the GPS system, owned by the US, sent into space by the US.

Just because we leech on their satellites doesn't lower the "exclusivity" of the ownership by the US. Which is also probably why all the other big players (Russia/China/EU) are doing their own GNSS.


because as you say, everyone has the ability to switch away from US control if the US abuse it; which is happening - or rather, corporations abuse it and politicians aren't doing their job by stepping in to stop them. politics is like any other relationship; you have to give, receive, and compromise. if you don't, you risk alienating your allies and lose your relationship.

DNS is one of those things,

False.

do note that neither of these are exclusively owned by the US,

False.

but rather that the US owns the responsibility to maintain these services that we all use.

False. The US has no responsibility, they own it.

even the dollar as reserve is a fickle thing that could change if the rest of us choose to.

And until other countries choose to, they get to deal with the consequences of their shortsighted reaches for centralization.

we could all just drop the US as our client provider and tank the american economy.

Good luck, there's plenty of software in Europe with hardcoded URLs, and there's no chance of getting operating systems in Europe, which are contributed to almost exclusively by US companies, to switch their DNS over to something that isn't ICANN-controlled.

we don't, because shit like this isn't supposed to happen, but push hard enough, and it will

The US has performed coups on foreign countries at least a dozen times. Other countries won't do a thing, as is shown by historical precedent.

you already see russia and china going this route.

Neither of those run their own DNS, they leech off of ICANN, and occasionally block things or modify records. Were ICANN to disappear, both would be in disarray.


> False. False. False. The US has no responsibility, they own it.

They own it and share it, they get control and everyone else gets a service, the moment they abuse their control, everyone else will stop their dependence on it. that means they have a responsibility to keep this balance or lose control of it.

> Good luck, there's plenty of software in Europe with hardcoded URLs, and there's no chance of getting operating systems in Europe, which are contributed to almost exclusively by US companies, to switch their DNS over to something that isn't ICANN-controlled.

legacy systems are mainly an issues for hospitals, and if necessary, the governments (who pays for these hospitals anyway) would afford a switch. the US is more vulnerable for something like this since their hospitals are private.

> The US has performed coups on foreign countries at least a dozen times. Other countries won't do a thing, as is shown by historical precedent.

the US performs coups in third-world countries struggling with stability. they have never attempted a coup in a well organized country with strong ties.

> Neither of those run their own DNS, they leech off of ICANN, and occasionally block things or modify records. Were ICANN to disappear, both would be in disarray.

both of these are building their own as we speak. for the very reason we're having this argument.


the moment they abuse their control, everyone else will stop their dependence on it. that means they have a responsibility to keep this balance or lose control of it.

They're already abusing their control, all other countries are helpless.

legacy systems are mainly an issues for hospitals, and if necessary, the governments (who pays for these hospitals anyway) would afford a switch. the US is more vulnerable for something like this since their hospitals are private.

I guarantee you it'd take more than a decade to switch from ICANN.

the US performs coups in third-world countries struggling with stability. they have never attempted a coup in a well organized country with strong ties.

This is ahistorical.

both of these are building their own as we speak. for the very reason we're having this argument.

Russia isn't building a genuine alternative, and China, while they already have a genuine alternative, would be committing suicide to deprecate any service controlled by ICANN.


> False. The US has no responsibility, they own it.

The USA is responsible because they own it, as every owner is.


You were doing well until you dragged GPS and the dollar into the argument. Those are US assets and the US are free to dispose of them as they see fit, no ifs or buts. The rest of the world chooses to piggyback on them because why not, but everybody knows US military and economic requirements will always come first on those platforms.

What you should have brought up, really, is the UN. The US pays for most of what is effectively a common good, because it derives prestige, influence, and material advantages (indirect control of a huge chunk of diplomatic communications, tons of money from workers and diplomats stationed there, etc etc) from hosting it.

And sure enough, the UN has a specialized agency that would have been the natural destination for a global communication service: the ITU. Sadly, the ITU is (in)famed for being a political clusterf#ck, so a choice was made by the Clinton/Gingrich generation of US politicians to keep the internet well away from it. That might have been a wise choice at the time, but we've since seen the drawbacks of that choice: instead of getting captured by known evils with some (small) degree of accountability, dns was captured by a bunch of new evils that answer to no one. That way lies oligarchy, as Russia showed in the last 30 years.


> Those are US assets and the US are free to...

GPS is a derivative of Håkan Lans AIS. The US military built the satellite network yes, but had they not shared it, another network would have been constructed to take its place as the technology itself is not American.

I fully agree with you though, the UN exist to host these projects as a non-partial entity. The fact that they don't is cause for some frustration and a risk to the world.


> neither of these are exclusively owned by the US, but rather that the US owns the responsibility to maintain these services that we all use

For all practical purposes, these systems are owned by the U.S. because America maintains them. That lets the U.S. government cut it off to unfriendly users, the definition of control.


They are allowed to own and maintain and control these systems. No one is forced to use them, and if the US abuse it, they lose the control they currently are allowed to possess.

GPS is a US Military Asset, 100% owned and operated by the US Military. They allow civilian use of a part of the GPS system during peacetime

If another World War breaks out, or major conflict that the military deemed necessary they can and will cut off all Cilivian access to the GPS Network

This is why Russia has its own, and China is in the process of Deploying its own, and the EU has considered deploying their own as well.


EU is also in the process of deploying its own: Galileo.

And there are chipsets now capable of simultaneously using GPS, Galileo, and BeiDou (Chinese system) for greater accuracy. Any ability of the US government or military to "cut off" GPS has been nullified.

> even the dollar as reserve is a fickle thing that could change if the rest of us choose to.

No, you have this all backwards. Let's take a hypothetical country -- Fredonia with it's Fredonian Franc. The government of Fredonia decides "I want to be a global reserve currency!". How would they go about accomplishing that?

First, let's define what it means to be a global reserve currency. What it means is that other reserve banks use your currency as their reserve. That means other reserve banks need to accumulate Fredonian Francs, and in large amounts.

Of course banks don't warehouse currencies, they would be holding Fredonian Government Bonds (FGB), which must be bought with Fredonian Francs. So how would they get their hands on large numbers of FGBs? By running trade surpluses against Fredonia.

In other words, to be a reserve currency means you have to allow the rest of the world to run large trade surpluses against you, which means you have to allow your currency to be permanently overvalued relative to the rest of the world -- relative to what it would be valued if there was no global investment demand for Fredonian Francs.

Now, all of a sudden, it's not looking like such a great proposition for the Fredonians, as this means that their own production is disadvantaged in global markets more or less permanently and their financial system has to be huge and swollen. It distorts the Fredonian economy and hurts workers. That would require a very resilient economy and a population willing to tolerate the employment hit to running persistent trade deficits vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

Next, Fredonia would need to develop deep and liquid capital markets, so that the rest of the world would be confident in storing their wealth there. That means a long tradition of rule of law, large turnover at low prices, and huge bond markets. Big enough to absorb the surplus of the entire world. It also means that your interest rates are going to be permanently lower than they would be if there was no excess global demand for FGBs. This means your economy is going to be subject to asset bubbles and financialization -- we're talking huge bond markets that risk dominating the country.

So the economy of Fredonia has to be big, be investor friendly, have strong property protections and rule of law, a grotesquely bloated and powerful bond market, and be willing to run permanent trade deficits vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

Not many nations qualify on all of these accounts, right? China is big enough, but no rule of law, and since their entire economy is based on running trade surpluses instead of trade deficits, they are suited to be the accumulator of global reserves rather than the issuer of global reserves. Saudi Arabia? Nope. The EU? Nope. Simply no one else is both able and willing to pay the price to be a global reserve currency, and that's why it's going to remain the USD. Not only is this not a "fickle" thing, the rest of the world should be grateful that the US is willing to sacrifice the interests of its own workers and production base in order to make sure the rest of the world has a steady supply of USG bonds.

Rather, the real question is how long will the US be willing to bear this burden? When the US was 40% of global GDP, and global trade was tiny relative to global GDP, it didn't seem like a very big burden. But today, when the US economy doesn't dominate the rest of the world and trade is huge, the price of being a global reserve currency is devastating. It means de-industrialization, collapsing cities in the rust belt, rising death rates and a shrinking US middle class, as well as rising Federal deficits.

I can very easily see a future in which the US starts imposing more and more capital controls that prevent foreigners from purchasing dollar assets similar to protections that other nations have, at which point guess what -- there will be no global reserve currency. The free ride, for the rest of the world's producers, will be over.

Trade agreements will need to go back to being settled either bilaterally, or with some kind of specie (gold? silver? bitcoin?). This would be a great thing in some respects, because it would force each nation to not overproduce, but it would cause a huge contraction in international trade, corresponding to a contraction in global GDP and well being, and especially to those economies that rely on running persistent trade surpluses in order to employ their workers -- nations such as Germany, China, Japan will take big hits should they lose the ability to persistently run surpluses.


Absolutely fascinating. I never thought about it this way.

This would also imply that the Fredonian government would be highly incentivized to run at a constant deficit, more so than other governments, because its cost of capital would be lower.

Your argument is so convincing that I am having a hard time seeing what the US gets out of all this. Cheaper capital and cheaper imports, I suppose. But surely there is a reason for this besides American altruism.

But if the US ever gets tired of this, why would it start capital controls? Why not just inflate the currency?


they already inflate it. all currency is currently regulated by the banks and value is purely artificial. you can thank the UK housing bubble. the banks realized digital currency is great because its not regulated, and created money out of thin air and lent it couples buying houses and any money they got back they counted as profits. this is why the economy crashed in 2008 - the globe realized there was nothing carrying value but the banks artificially maintaining value of currency.

Yes, the Fredonian government is going to end up running a deficit not just because interest rates will be lower, but also to make up for the loss of income as a result of the current account balance. Importing decreases income and exporting increases income, which is why GDP includes a trade term of exports-imports. In the US, these are all the people who drop out of the labor market or go on disability as a result of being displaced by foreign imports, creating a loss of the taxpayer base and an increase in benefit payments. Thus imports are a drag on the fiscal balance as well.

This is the same reason why a policy of "inflating the currency" is not going to work for the US, and instead capital controls are the policy option of choice. I don't want to get the goldbugs in this thread, but the quantity of money is demand determined by the private sector, and the policy variable that the government has is the overnight interest rate. This means that "inflating the currency", or trying to create inflation, is done by lowering the policy rate. Fighting inflation consists of raising this rate. So when you say "inflate the currency", what you mean is lower the rate of interest. But that rate can only be lowered to zero, and more importantly other nations will respond by lowering their interest rates. This process is called "competitive devaluation", because what matters for the trade balance is the relative value of the dollar with other currencies, not the absolute value. The US cannot unilaterally set the relative value, and devaluation by US will be met with devaluation by our trading partners.

Moreover devaluation is very risky and might substantially increase the trade deficit, because when the rest of the world devalues their currency to match, it is much more likely that they are the ones who will suffer a currency crisis than the US. So this policy would risk destabilizing the currencies of our trading partners, leading to financial crisis and another flight to the USD as a safe haven as investors flee the currencies of our trading partners and rush to the US.

On the other hand capital controls is something that can be done unilaterally and cannot be countered in the same way as competitive devaluation. If we impose a tax, of say, 2% on foreign holders of US assets, and the rest of the world retaliates with their own tax, then this is unlikely to cause a global currency crisis, it will cause cross border capital flows to suddenly reverse in which US investors pull their money out of foreign nations while foreign investors pull their money out of the US and bring it back home. Because foreigners invested more in the US than the other way around, this should result in more capital flowing into the rest of the world rather than the kind of capital flight that creates a currency crisis.

In terms of how we got to this point, that's a tough question because you are asking me to assert motives and plans, when all I can reliably do is describe the current situation we are in. If I were to guess, I think it was not intentional. When the UK was the dominant economic power and the pound was the reserve currency the UK also suffered from chronic trade deficits, but the size of the imbalances were so much smaller before WW1 than today. What is happening now is truly unprecedented in the economic history of the world -- the depth of global supply chains, and the size of global trade imbalances is not something anyone would have predicted. So my guess is that the US maintained open capital markets for political and historical reasons -- because England did, and because market liberalism was a dominant economic philosophy. The US maintained rule of law for similar cultural and historical reasons. Then, after WW2, ours was by far the dominant economy, and everyone wanted to invest their assets in the US, particularly when the rest of the world was in shambles after WW2. It's said that the Marshall plan -- that transfer of dollars to Europe -- only partially offset the flight of money from Europe to the US as people wanted to invest in our bonds because we were a safe haven. So I would say that's how we became a reserve currency.

But in the beginning, the amounts were so small relative to the size of our economy that it didn't disrupt anything.

Over time, it did begin to disrupt things, but perhaps the benefits outweighed the costs to the people who mattered. Those working in US capital markets benefit from this system, since they get a cut of the transactions. And there is still a contingent of die hard market liberals who insist that we must maintain open capital markets, even as the rest of the world takes advantage of this.

Then businesses benefit, in the short term, from outsourcing. Consumers benefit, to some degree, from cheaper imports. The lower interest rates cause asset prices to be higher, so houses are more expensive as are stocks. This benefits the generation that bought the assets when they were cheaper.

So it's not the case that the entire nation is a loser. There are constituencies that benefit from this system and they have power. However the costs are mounting, and the benefits are fading. It's great to have a huge increase in house prices, but that's a one time hit -- a transfer to one or two generations. For the generations that come after, housing is just more expensive. It's great to have boosted stock prices from outsourcing, but now US firms are discovering that they have foreign competitors who are climbing the value the chain.

And of course the social costs for working class Americans are devastating, leading to political instability. I think we are well past the point where the benefits outweigh the costs.

By the way, I am not predicting that we adopt capital controls -- such a thing would be unheard of for us, since we are so indoctrinated in believing that free flow of capital is a type of virtue. However I am a believer in the principle that unsustainable things at some point must end. We cannot continue to bear this burden indefinitely.


the whole war in the middle east has been because the euro was about to become the new reserve currency, everyone, including china, was on board of this move - everyone, except the US. this is after the fact that nixon burned all of europe's gold in the vietnam war, the gold, which was supposed to balance the dollar. so yes, the current fallback is the US bonds but it isn't stable and the only reason the US maintains this system is because they fucked up.

so yeah, i don't buy it. the US isn't 'saving the world' by holding the dollar as a reserve. the entire US economy is hanging on by a thread and would collapse if they lose the global trade commission on dollar.


This is pure nonsense. You might as well that the person who is the biggest creditor is the same as the biggest debtor via some horseshoe theory of finance. The Euro can't be a reserve currency because the Eurozone cannot support large capital inflows, which is because Germany is dependent on having an export based economy. Seriously, you are confusing plus with minus, addition with subtraction. To be an issuer of reserves requires that you allow foreigners to run surpluses against you. Thus no currency zone that requires running surpluses is going to be a reserve currency as long as plus is not the same as minus.

> US-owned US-created top-level domains are hardly an international affair

We'll see your "US-owned, US-created" and raise you Margrethe Vestager.


Vestager has zero power over this. ICANN's European employees are negligible, and ICANN discontinuing services to Europe immediately brings Europe's infrastructure down. Europeans legislators should really accept that they fucked themselves on this, because they could start taking preventative measures. They won't, though.



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