Open Source Development
The purpose of this paper is not to suggest that business models are the only models that should be utilized in resource management. There are cases where other forms of resource management work hand in hand with business models. Specifically, there is the case of anarcho-communism. The dynamics are still natural, but they require a pseudo-selflessness that can only be elicited under certain conditions. First, what is anarcho-communism? Communism can be defined as an economic system characterized by the means of production being held by the commons. As a result, communism is generally also required to include an egalitarian system: equal ownership, equal wealth, equal power, etc. In the case of anarcho-communism, there is no government institution involved in the management process. People often provide examples of failed attempts of communism as evidence that communism cannot work. However, just because it generally does not, in part because it opposes the natural drive to accumulate resources in order to maximize reproductive odds, there are situations in which anarcho-communism can work and does work One such condition is the requirement that the resource in question cannot be diminished by its use. Does such a resource exist? Yes; intellectual property is such an example and anarcho-communism plays a role in current development of intellectual properties, specifically, in the case of open source computer software.
Monopolies as indicators
Monopolies seem to arise in three different ways. The first is support through government. This mirrors agriculture supporting a single species. The second is during periods of abrupt environmental changes. The third, if our analogy holds, would be due to a product reaching its final stages of usefulness. The question in the final case is whether or not a new product arises as a result of monopolization, or if monopolization is an indicator that it is time for a new product to take over. The first way in which monopolies may arise has already been seen in an earlier example: the regulations of the liquor industry after the end of the prohibition.
Cell Phone Carriers
As an example of government’s inability to solve resource management problems, as opposed to the market finding a solution, we can look at cell phones. While politics has been working on finding ways, supposedly, to reduce the stranglehold the few main cell phone carriers have, the market has done something which the politicians wouldn’t have considered: do away with the need for carriers in the first place. As Wi-Fi becomes more and more ubiquitous, thanks to the market reacting to the desire to have Wi-Fi hotspots in just about every shop—people don’t like being disconnected after all—the benefit of VoIP (Voice over IP) becomes more and more apparent. People are avoiding using their cell phone networks where possible and are relying instead on free, or cheap, Wi-Fi.
What is Government
I have been using the word “government” quite frankly in this discussion, but I have not really defined what a government is. We have an implicit idea of government, but it does vary from person to person. Rather than have any confusion, I will establish what seems to be a reasonable definition of government and which distinguishes itself from other forms of decision making systems.
A government is a decision making system, in which people are bound to the decisions made by that system without having explicitly entered into an agreement with that system and which is defined over a set geographical region.
Business Model Taxonomy
We are used to the taxonomic system in place in biological systems. The root of all taxa in biological system is life. Beyond this we have domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. There are other subdivisions and super-categories, but we won’t worry ourselves with these, since business model taxonomy will differ substantially from those in biological systems.
It could be said that this business model coincided with the barter model. It is probable that these business entities came into existence some time after societies started dividing labor tasks. However, even after the division of labor occurred, many of the early systems relied on redistributive processes.
The employee/employer model is a pretty well known. But as mentioned earlier, the employee is a business of its own. Therefore the employee/employer model is actually a symbiotic relationship.
For Profit vs Non-Profit
Just like in biological systems, one can often maximize reproductive odds by maximizing one’s own resources. This is the idea of profit maximization. And, when people think of how businesses work, many think of profit maximization as being a core principle. However, profit may not even be part of a business model. Non profits are still businesses. They provide a good or service and expect compensation in return. They may also take donations as part of their model, thus making them some kind of hybrid between a business and a non-business entity, but this is not necessary.
Publicly Traded/Privately Owned/Closely Owned
Businesses based on barter far predate any other form of business. This does not mean that bartering has ever been a primary method of resource management. At the time when bartering was mostly used, it was greatly overshadowed by redistributive models as well as the use of force.
Just like the employee, the customer is also a valid business model, based on the aforementioned definition of business. This becomes much more apparent if we look at customers which utilize barter rather than currency. If a brewery needs grain, it may go to a farm and offer beer in return for grain. In this case, both the brewery and the farm are simultaneously providers and customers. This duality, which seems to become more sharply defined when currency is involved than in cases of barter, must be taken into account in the taxonomic model. In almost every form of business, the customer model is included, unless there are no resources other than that of the business itself that are required. These are far and few between. Just like in the case of the employee/employer model, there is a symbiotic relationship occurring here.
Unions and Guilds
One may not consider unions when addressing business models, but they are indeed business models, based on the aforementioned definition. They are also models which evolved naturally out of natural market dynamics to fulfill a need.
People often confuse guilds and unions. They may similar, but they are not the same thing. Unions are groups of employees who have come together for a common goal. These goals revolve around workers rights, such as better compensation and shorter working hours and safer working conditions. On the other hand, guilds are usually comprised of sole proprietorships, contractors, and other business entities with the intention of making it easier to do business. This may include working to fight against government restrictions of markets, making it easier to find potential customers, or furnish professional training. Because there are commonalities between the two, it makes sense that guilds and unions would be subdivisions of some larger supergroup.
Since the concept of symbiotic relationships has been brought up already, it might be worth looking into the topic in more detail. Symbiotic relationships are often thought of as being mutually beneficial, but in biological terms, symbiosis can have a more general meaning. That is any form of persistent interaction between organisms. This interaction can fall into three categories: mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitic.