Essense of Richard Stallman’s Free Software Idea

Can a system support the benefits to many entities that had previously been confined to a single entity?

Furthermore, can this be done without support of law or government, since laws can be reshaped to benefit the few at the expense of the many?

I believe the answer is yes, and with Richard Stallman’s Free Software, we saw it in action: a form of sharing and mutual aid that is common inside an community or corporation, but not between organizations.    Inside a company, there is free license to use others works without compensation.   In the case of software, this would mean using each others software code and maintenance labor to help another group’s project.    In 1976, all written ideas were suddenly property, so cross-organizational efforts required explicit licensing.     This is especially difficult in the case of individual programmers that are not in an organization, or in an organization that does not do that kind of licensing, such as a University.

Therefore we have seen a system created that regulated a set of shared benefits between organizations that mimicked the efficiency in a pre-property world.

What kind of benefits might be shared in this way?   Housing is one.

Some types of organizations, such as Universities, Churches, and hospitals have operated subsidized housing for their community.  Universities house faculty and students; churches house priests and sometimes homeless people; and hospitals support doctors in training. When corporations created housing for their employees, in the form of “company towns”, the practice was often documented as becoming abusive, so is largely gone.    (The town of Empire Nevada was  company town built by a gypsum mining company, which was the last company town in Nevada going out of business and evicting everyone in 2010).

Is there a way to have a set of housing that is subsidized for the benefit of many organizations of the same type rather than for just one organization?    There is subsidized housing for some groups of people, such as low-income families, set up by the government, or regulated by the government.    If the government did not require these houses to be built they are unlikely to be built and sustained.

So how about another class?   I believe there may have been housing for union members, but I am not sure of this. (anyone know?)

Can this work for those that choose to work in non-profit or public-benefit organizations, whether it be all such organizations or a set of them?  Therefore, a set of housing units can be developed for those that want to work in these organizations as a form of subsidy that would be enduring.

If we could get the incentives right, as Richard Stallman did, we could have housing for public benefit workers that provides an ongoing subsidy to those choosing to serve the public.   If done right, then there would not need to be government subsidy or even specific laws past to do this.

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3 Responses to Essense of Richard Stallman’s Free Software Idea

  1. Hank Bromley says:

    Here’s another example of housing owned by an organization being used to benefit all members of a class: if I remember some long-ago reading correctly, one of the roots of modern university fraternities were the student organizations associated with early European universities. If, again, I remember correctly, it was common for students to travel about in order to complete their studies (campuses large enough to house extensive programs of study in a single location were a later development), and these associations sprang up as a way to ensure suitable housing in the multiple locations a given student might travel to in the course of their studies. Members of a given organization were entitled to stay at any of the accommodations operated in different locations by that organization.

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