Everything is Always Broken, and That’s Okay

Beyond “competition,” “efficiency” and “innovation,” interop delivers self-determination.

Image from Theophilus Brown’s 1915 patent for a manure spreader (USP#1139482)

I am recuperating from hip-replacement surgery and while that often means I can’t concentrate enough to work, it also means I have long, uninterrupted periods to carry on correspondence, such as the paragraphs below, from my overdue reply to a left-wing economist with whom I’ve been discussing the case for interoperability. In our previous round, my correspondent had suggested that interop wasn’t necessarily good, and that even profitable interop could be bad for all of us — do we really need 50 nearly identical inks on Amazon that can all work with our printer? How can anyone make a “good” choice in that environment? My response is below.

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Pluralistic: 07 Jul 2021

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