[Foundation-l] Long-term archiving of Wikimedia content

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Tue May 5 22:57:26 UTC 2009

2009/5/5 Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org>:
> On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 6:35 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com>wrote:
>> Education
>> has value because of scarcity - someone with a degree can earn more
>> than someone without a degree because there are fewer people that can
>> do the jobs they can do.
> So if most people had a degree, people with degrees would earn less than
> people without degrees?

No, as long as not everyone has the knowledge, having that knowledge
is valuable. It is less valuable if more people have it, but its value
never becomes negative (unless people with it are at risk of being
tortured for it, I guess!).

>> We're not talking about whether it is
>> valuable to an individual for them to have certain knowledge (that's a
>> pretty easy question to answer - it's clear "yes"), but whether it is
>> valuable to society (whatever that means) for that knowledge to exist
>> (that's rather more difficult - I doubt you could reasonable argue
>> "no", but it is debatable whether the question is well posed).
> I guess you have to explain the "whatever that means".
> But anyway, I guess you threw me off by mentioning "academia".  I go back to
> my original answer :).  The monetary value of the existence of knowledge is
> the amount one is willing to pay someone to create (or discover) that
> knowledge.
> As someone who used to work in "research and development", I can attest to
> the fact that there are people who are willing to pay for the
> creation/discovery of knowledge, even outside of academia and government.

Usually when people pay for the creation of knowledge (outside of
government, maybe, but to some extent even governments) they want the
knowledge for themselves (that's why we have things like patents and
copyright). Governments don't fund original research for the sake of
it, they do so because they want their country to have a good academic
reputation, etc., rather than to increase the amount of knowledge in
the world for purely idealistic reasons.

Anyway, we are massively off-topic, so I suggest we end this
discussion now. (Actually, I suggested it before, but I don't seem to
be able to follow my own advice!)

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