A little allegory

There's a little allegorical world I've been using as a tool in making sense of the information industry. I've written some of it down, if only (as ever) to help clarify my picture. In this allegorical world, there are various lands, varying in population density all the way from crowded to empty. There's a form of magic in this world that allows one to generate artifacts from designs, so that the cost of any designed thing is reduced to the raw materials it uses, plus whatever the maker (who has the design) cares to take as extra, for instance to cover the designer's cost of living while designing another artifact. But this magic doesn't work everywhere.

Indeed, different kinds of things exist in different lands, different magic works in each land, and any one person typically exists in several at once: the lands of this world are interwoven. I'm only going to be focussing on how much of folk's behaviour makes sense when seen in terms of their behaviour in relation to one particular land which is in the midsts of a rapid, and accellerating, colonisation. Folk have reached it from a variety of lands and for a variety of reasons: and the special thing about it is that it's a land in which every made thing is, in effect, a design of itself; and takes no raw material - though, of course, you'll need somewhere to keep it, which means some land to store it in. This magic of free copying works for everything in this land except the land itself: which expands (and could, in principle, contract) in response to processes in various other lands. There's a closely related magic: destroying made things in this land requires of you only that you have access to them.

This is the allegory of a land in which I am able give my neighbour a copy of anything I own, it uses up a moment of my time and leaves me with my original property at my disposal, as much as it ever was. I might chose not to give him a copy, if I wanted to keep it private. I might ask for a fee of form `it took up this much of my time, which costs this much', after all I have a living to earn, especially if I've saved someone loads of searching for the thing and sorting it out that they'd have had to do themselves, without me.

Still, that's a quick poke at the allegorical world, here's some unfinished but vaguely self-contained fragments:





Written by Eddy.
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