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A Free-Market Exchange for Information

Report ID:
November 1990
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All members of the high-technology community possess a wide variety of valuable information. Such information ranges from operation procedures for Computer Aided Manufacturing hardware to a 100 line spreadsheet program. Some world class high-technology experts (e.g. Nobel Prize winners or Industry leaders) possess unique information or insights that cannot be independently reproduced. Other members of the high-technology community familiar with specific subsystems of profitable or critical products, possess information that can only be reproduced at significant expense. Examples of such information
include: specific development information about a software module used in a large defense system, the curvature of a mirror deployed in a satellite, or the location in the company database of last month's sales forecast. The value of the information possessed by employees of profitable corporations, researchers in leading laboratories, or administrators in government offices is hard to overestimate. "You can take my factories," boasted Henry Ford, "burn up my buildings, but give me my people and I'll build the businesses back again." People know the approximate value of a given piece of information. They generally have some informal mechanism for trading (and sometimes selling) the information, although frequently, there is no formally established marketplace for them to sell much of the valuable information they possess. We propose to establish an electronic marketplace for a broad class of high-technology information including such topics as: computer software and hardware, electronic components, high-technology consumer products, systems integration, and data communications systems. More specifically we define and discuss a free market-based Information Exchange for software systems development and maintenance that promises to increase the flow of valuable information through laboratory, company, and international computer networks. Establishing a worldwide electronic network for purchasing technical information will accelerate the pace of innovation and the degree of adaptation of computing, communications, and information technologies in analysis, design, and manufacturing processes. Perhaps most importantly, a international information market will enhance and motivate the human resource base to efficiently meet
the economic and technological needs of the new decade.

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