[dns-operations] "it's like having a pizza delivered to a friend's house as a prank."

Andrew Sullivan andrew at ca.afilias.info
Wed Mar 22 21:40:29 UTC 2006

On Wed, Mar 22, 2006 at 09:42:23AM -0800, Rick Jones wrote:
> "Without any meaningful government regulation, such changes must be made 
> on a voluntary basis"
> Sounds like an invitation for "Be careful what you ask for, you might 
> get it" to meet the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Well, maybe.  It seems to me that this is a clear case of a
collective action problem: if everyone does something about this,
everyone benefits.  On the other hand, nobody has an incentive to do
anything until everyone else has done something.  So nobody is
willing to sink the money and time needed to do the action, because
if you do and others don't, you lose.  

Industrial regulation is full of this sort of problem.  Pollution is
one example.  Seat belts are another.  What we do in such cases is
create a regulatory agency (the rule that says, "All automakers must
build seat belts into their cars by date _D_"), sometimes combined
with a market mechanism (like pollution credits); these are there to
alter the market, such that the costs can't be externalised by the
market actors.  The effect of this is that the collective action
problem is addressed by removing the incentive not to act.

So what's so different about the Net that we shouldn't do something


Andrew Sullivan                         204-4141 Yonge Street
Afilias Canada                        Toronto, Ontario Canada
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