[At-Large] - Price caps - was: The Case for Regulatory Capture at ICANN | Review Signal Blog

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Thu Jun 27 19:04:13 UTC 2019

I believe that democracy, whether direct or representative, means that 
individual people must resolve among their various interests.  Sometimes 
that means electing representatives, for short terms (a few years max) 
who they believe will reflect their general choices.

Stakeholder based systems, such as ICANN, are in conflict with that kind 
of human-based system.  Stakeholderism violates the notion of 
one-person-one vote by giving multiple roles to some people.  For 
instance in ICANN I'm a commercial business owner, intellectual property 
owner, domain name registrant, partial owner of several registries, am a 
member of technical bodies, have protocol numbers, and even part of the 
at-large - so I can assert my interests through multiple "stakeholder" 
forums.  And because stakeholderism recognizes corporate forms, I can 
multiply my role by acting via my corporate personas (yes, plural) in 
addition to my human one.

As an experiment in political systems, ICANN is a throwback to the era 
of trade guilds than a harbinger of some great new thing of human 
empowerment.  ICANN's system is paternalistic, based on assertions that 
people do not have the time or knowledge to think for themselves, to 
decide for themselves, and that consequently they must be protected by 
presumed well-meaning guardians who are chosen by other guardians.

Regarding DNS - What you propose is a significant technical change to 
the way that DNS works.  There are several proposals I have seen for 
that kind of thing.  But so far I have not seen working code that scales 
and is resistant to attack.

By-the-way, I do see that some of this problem is solving itself - 
domain names are slowly losing their value as application level naming - 
think of twitter names or facebook names - and context sensitive lookups 
- such as personal contact apps or things like Amazon Alexa - are 
increasingly becoming the tokens and machinery that users utilize to 
indicate things they want.  (DNS would usually still be lurking underneath.)

Regarding prices: You want to use fiat, regulatory high pricing as a way 
to hinder something you don't like: "speculation".  It appears that in 
your philosophy speculation is always bad. However for most of us (at 
least here in the US) routinely speculate in everything from homes to 
coins to retirement plans to life insurance (and also in the US, 
unfortunately, to medical care.)

You cite ticket scalping and advocate high initial prices - which means 
that every patron gets scalped, not just the people who buy from 
speculative scalpers.  In my own transactions I've found the best way to 
deal with abusive scalping or speculation is to simply say "no" and not 
to buy.  Speculators can lose their investment and that will, in turn, 
reduce the fuel that drives abusive speculation.

If we are honest in ICANN we should give a name to that difference 
between actual registry costs and the price registries charge - we 
should call it what it is, a tax.  And that tax should flow into the 
coffers of ICANN rather than into the accounts of the registries.  That 
way that money - which aggregates to well more than a $Billion each year 
- could be used for some public services rather than paying dividends to 
corporate shareholders. (PIR, at least, distributes a chunk of its 
registry fee profits to support internet technical entities.)


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