Coase's Penguin builds on the theory of Ronald Coase, who explained in the 30s that firms exist when the cost of separate transactions with many independent parties is greater than the price-efficiency of a competitive market. The problem Coase was trying to solve at the time was to explain the persistance and dramatic growth of centrally managed corporations, if a market is an ideal way to allocate economic resources.
What a central idea to so much I've been thinking about lately. (I could care less about the Open Source bent of the article, although I'm sure that was interesting.) MillMan got me thinking about organizational structure within corporations, and creating a company that internally operated by free-market principles, as a thought experiment. Didn't really follow up on that, but today it's all back in my face.
Now I'm curious about Coase, have to see if any of his research is readable to me. Starting point.
How far can I stretch the circumstances where cooperation and shared responsibility are better than a competitive market? I don't mean stretch as in forcing it to a form where it doesn't fit, but rather what are the bounds? If I use the given example of cooperation within a corporations members, where else does such an idea apply? For instance, on the idea of co-housing and communal living, there seems to be a fairly direct comparison in scale and possibly structure, although maybe not in purpose. A neighborhood's collaboration is not to increase profits - on the other hand, neither are the motivations for a majority of participants in a corporation (assuming Coase's theory involves employees).
Although independent contracting is a viable means of employment, are there reasons other than necessity that most of us choose not to go that route?
Enough unfinished thoughts, let them stew for a bit.
Shortly on robotics, I have a bunch of AVR mcu's lying around from earlier interests, and in my youth I spent a decent amount of time building discrete electronics projects. I'm thinking one of my upcoming winter projects will be building small primitive robots, I like the simple emergent behavior of BEAM-style solarbots, I think I'll start there and also look at simple adaptive behavior I can code up in an AVR. Currently looking for sources on inter-robot communication - one robot is only midly interesting to me, a social group of robots is very interesting.
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