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All open source communities should encourage software free-riders. Furthermore, a software free-rider makes it more likely that other people will use your open source project by word of mouth or otherwise. When some portion of those other users contribute back, the open source project benefits. Software free-riders can have positive network effects on a project. However, when the success of an open source project depends largely on one or more corporate sponsors, the open source community should not forget or ignore that customers are a common good. When the customer signs up with a Maker, we know that a certain percentage of the revenue associated with that customer will be invested back into the open source project.

In other words, open source communities should find ways to route customers to Makers. Hundreds of research papers and books have been written on the governance of public goods and common goods. Over the years, I have read many of them to figure out what open source communities can learn from successfully managed public goods and common goods. Unless the number of individuals is quite small, or unless there is coercion or some other special device to make individuals act in their common interest, rational, self-interested individuals will not act to achieve their common or group interest.

Dozens of academics, Hardin and Olson included, have argued that an external agent is required to solve the free-rider problem. The two most common approaches are centralization and privatization:.


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The widespread advice to centralize and privatize common goods has been followed extensively in most countries. Today, the management of natural resources is typically done either by the government or by commercial companies, but no longer directly by its users.

Examples include public transport, water utilities, fishing grounds, parks, and much more. Overall, the privatization and centralization of common goods has been very successful. In many countries, public transport, water utilities, and parks are maintained better than volunteer contributors would have achieved on their own. For years, it was a long-held belief that centralization and privatization were the only ways to solve the free-rider problem. It was Elinor Ostrom who observed that a third solution existed. Ostrom found hundreds of cases where common goods are successfully managed by their communities, without the oversight of an external agent.

Her examples range from the management of irrigation systems in Spain to the maintenance of mountain forests in Japan, all successfully self-managed and self-governed by their users. Rich people tend to socialise together. A millionaire in a provincial town will mix with a lot more upper middle class people than a millionaire in the big city, because the millionaire in the big city will be surrounded by other millionaires. Now for collective interest…Someone expressed mild dismay at the way their taxes and the cost of sustaining an appropriately upper class lifestyle in general has risen recently.

Mild gripes about taxation and government waste ensue. It becomes axiomatic in this social group that taxes are too high, and that government spending is wasteful; thus when some of them have the chance to influence government policy, they are more likely to exert themselves in that direction.

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At least until I get a couch. My ex-roommate making a third what I am just spent 2 weeks in Hawaii. Is everyone secretly drowning in credit card debt? Next one-off: Will pay for furniture in living room, will pay for seeing doctors Just because they give you insurance is no guarantee you can pay the deductible , will pay for plane ticket home for Christmas.

I will never own a house. I get how normal people do it in the Midwest. Your estimation of value is vastly distorted by the availability heuristic of the place in which you live. I, too, live in the Bay Area, and my pre-tax income is in the same general range as yours, but my experience is very different from yours. I own a house and I have enough left over each paycheck to make substantial contributions to my nonk savings.

In general, the further down the Peninsula you live and the closer to the bay coast you are, the cheaper housing is. I hardly ever drink at bars, cook most of my own meals, etc. The vast majority of my social activity consists of getting together with friends at one of our houses. In your situation, it might be worth backing off your k contributions until you can get any consumer debt paid off and some money in the bank for emergencies.

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Where does one even find statistics for the. I find it hard to believe though that low 6 figures is enough to put you in the. Also if you are making over k then your post seems crazy. You can very easily find couches for free on the curb around student move-in and move-out times of the year. My sister and her friends got a lot of furniture that way. Universities on move-out day are also pretty good, if you can get there. That is not normal.


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  • One other way that normal people who do for some reason choose to live in the Bay Area can save a fair bit of money is by not having a car. Your strategy of paying down all your debt and maxing your k is a know strategy for being nicely settled — say retiring around Yes, or student loan debt.

    Maxing your k is very rare.

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    Comparison: My mother is now paying off her student loan debt with her social security checks. The Bay Area has actual problems aside from people just feeling jealous, actually. If Bay Area city governments grew some goddamn balls, stood up to their stupid-ass citizens, and built shit-tons more dense, transit-oriented housing like every sensible booming urban area the world over , you would not have the problem of making incredible sums of money but still feeling poor.

    However, you are only real-estate poor because the current asset-owners are exploiting control over local government to heavily restrict the supply of liveable housing. TL;DR: You are not poor but you are heavily exploited in the Marxist sense by your employer, and also especially by your landlord. Vague libertarian sympathies or no, Bay Area local politics bring out the bloodthirsty anarchist leveler in me.

    Hi, Multi!

    Well, not really. That would cause more problems than it solves. A good next thing to do not that I am secretly leading you down the forbidden Marxist corridors to redguardspill you, no, no, I would never do that, kind sir is think about the kind of institutions that would enable this sort of spooky contractarian behavior.


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    • This is the only way I ever learn about anything. Wondering if class warfare is impossible in principle hardly seems like the sort of thing Marx would do. Do you think that such seminars might be conducive, via ordinary irrationality and rationalization, to the formation of ideologies generally conducive to the holding of further seminars by the same people? And yes, the poor once did have a coordinating institution. I can certainly sympathize — lately I find myself reproducing Max Weber himself a reproducer of Marx.

      Class warfare being impossible is hardly the conclusion that he came to. So Scott and Marxists, using their powers of intelligence and reason come to similar conclusions, which Marxists claim for Marxism and Scott claims for Rationality or perhaps Scottism. I think, rather than conspiracy or coordination among humans, this problem might be better modeled as natural selection acting over memes.

      And funnily enough, the prescription usually pushed by progressives to solve these social problems is just more of the same. Thus, selection over memes. No one involved in this whole disaster is ill-intentioned with possible exceptions down at the noise level.

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      And this is adaptive on the memetic level; if a problem is big and visible and metastasizing left and right, then people who are constantly warning about the horribleness of that problem and writing long papers about how to solve it gain social status and resources to attempt to fix the problem.

      This puts those people in a position to propagate their ideas about the problem. And if the programs involved actually solve the problem, then this forms a negative feedback loop, in which the problem goes away and society stops feeding resources to it. But if they exacerbate it, you get a positive feedback loop instead, so long as the people pushing the harmful programs can successfully pretend to themselves and others that their influence is helping rather than harming. And the harmful ideas about how to solve the problem are able to propagate.

      I think this is a pretty elegant explanation for a lot of historical phenomena in relatively recent times.

      At least, it should avoid the immediate implausibility of a literal enormous perfectly secret conspiracy among all progressives, or all black elites, or whatever. Imagine two poverty-solving memes in two neighboring states.