[p2p-hackers] Re: [decentralization] The Content-Addressable Web

Clay Shirky clay at shirky.com
Thu Oct 25 18:16:01 UTC 2001

> The most important concept in the whole field of the "p2p" or
> "decentralization" or whatever you call it is the concept of
> "cooperation without vulnerability".

You don't mean exactly that, I think, since the Visa system, as but
one example, allows this. If I go into some little shop in Cancun to
buy sunglasses, that merchant and I are all but guaranteed never to
see one another again. Its a non-iterated game of PD, where defection
can backfire, but it can never be punished.

But I have a Visa card, and he has a Visa sign in his door. Visa knows
him, and will pimpslap him upside his silly little head if he runs up
extra charges on my card. Visa know me, and has a staff of trained
knuckledraggers who will nail my head to the floor if I fail to pay up.

So what I think you mean is "P2P can allow cooperation without
vulnerability _or_ brokering authority." And this only matters if you
think such a system can operate at a lower cost (cash cost plus
opportunity cost) than a system with a broker. 

You and Todd think such a thing is possible. I'm not sure its
impossible, but I am certainly in the skeptics' camp on this one.


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