15 April 2007

Fidei Defensor: Oh, Look, Another One

A little while back, I wrote about the amazing coincidence that two very similar articles defending Microsoft against the European Commission had been published a few days apart. Imagine my surprise, then, when I came across yet another one:

If there were truly a demand for options other than the Microsoft operating system, companies would not hesitate to specialize in meeting this demand. On the contrary, if Microsoft retains a "dominant position," it is because it offers today's best alternative in consumers' eyes.

I won't even bother refuting the arguments of the article (exercise left to the reader), since the writer either doesn't understand the issues of technological lock-in (APIs, anyone?), or pretends not to. What interests me more is who exactly is behind this third defence.

The author comes from the Institut economique Molinari, which at least has the virtues of avoiding obvious weasel words like "innovation" or "competition". But a closer examination of the Institut reveals some interesting positions.

Take this one, for example:

il faut réaliser qu’il faut de l’énergie pour se protéger des aléas climatiques, froids ou chauds, et qu’un individu qui peut en déployer beaucoup est sûrement mieux protégé qu’un individu qui n’a que peu d’outils, de capital, de ressources pour s’adapter. L’économiste Julian Simon souligne que si l’énergie devenait extrêmement bon marché, il serait probablement possible d’irriguer et de cultiver les zones désertiques. Il est par conséquent évident que nous pouvons aussi nous adapter face à un climat plus chaud ou à une augmentation du niveau des océans.

The incredible logic seems to run like this. Rather than trying to do something about global warming, which might mean - quel horreur! - cutting back on that lovely black stuff, we should actually increase our dependence on oil and use it to irrigate the desert areas created by global warming. Of course, that will raise temperatures even more, creating even more deserts, but the solution is simply to use even more oil. Clever, huh?

As far as I can tell, there are no statements on the website about who funds this Institut. Of course, it couldn't possibly be someone like, say, oil companies? No, surely not. Equally, I presume that Microsoft has made no donations, directly or indirectly. The spirited defence of that company's actions is obviously offered pro bono publico - just like the desert irrigation scheme.

No comments: