Re: [gaia] Fibre Feudalism

Steve Song <> Thu, 04 October 2018 18:53 UTC

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From: Steve Song <>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2018 15:52:49 -0300
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Fibre Feudalism
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Hi Mallory,

Thanks for that!  I think you are on exactly the right track in terms of
thinking about economic models.  Thanks to Erick Huerta of Rhizomatica, I
am very taken with the thinking of French economic historian, Fernand
Braudel.  Braudel argues that the world has three economies not one.  A
global economy which is the well-known capitalist economic model where
monopoly is the perfect end-game in theory for every player.  Google,
Colgate, Coca-Cola, all the usual suspects form part of this economy.  The
second economy is the Local Economy where services are specific to the
city/community where you live.  This might be your local butcher, baker,
plumbers or even larger service provider which offers services that grow
out of local demand and which serve local needs in more unique ways than
the Global Economy.  The third economy is the Subsistence economy where
market forces may not operate because there is not sufficient traditional
capital to make it work.  This is the world of the informal economy with
barters, cooperatives, community initiatives that directly contribute to
the overall economy but are largely unmeasured by traditional statistics.
And woven among these are both commercial and commons models, which can
operate with varying success at the different levels.

When viewed through this lens, it is easy to see how regulation has only
enabled the global economy in telecommunication and that there is a need
for enabling regulations to nurture telecom initiatives in the Local and
Subsistence economies.

For me this also highlights a key flaw in models like the World Bank's Access
Gap model
<>. It
is not so much that the model is wrong, it is just one-dimensional;
assuming that successful global capitalism is the best of all possible

Writing more about this shortly.

Cheers... Steve

On Thu, 4 Oct 2018 at 10:57, Mallory Knodel <> wrote:

> Hi Steve,
> Thanks for sharing. I read it last night and I really enjoyed it. I
> think the metaphor is solid economically. And politically, well, that
> could be another post in and of itself.
> The agrarian commons would of course be ideal, but what we have is a
> sort of old-world economic structure that politically controls and
> profits from (what should be) the commons. This sets you up nicely to
> call for modern economic models ranging from squarely capitalist to
> socialist, and even (back to) the commons!
> I'm CCing HRPC because it might be of interest to those who have raised
> issues of centralisation on the list in the past.
> -Mallory
> On 04/10/2018 15:30, Steve Song wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > This is a reflection on the current state of terrestrial fibre
> > infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa (but I think applies just about
> > everywhere).
> >
> >
> >
> > Curious to know how apt you feel the metaphor is or any other reactions
> > you may have.
> >
> > Thanks.... Steve Song
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > gaia mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Mallory Knodel
> Head of Digital ::
> gpg fingerprint :: E3EB 63E0 65A3 B240 BCD9  B071 0C32 A271 BD3C C780
> _______________________________________________
> gaia mailing list

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