This is Yihong-Ding’s response to some of our earlier remarks about the measurability of mind assets.
Thank you for blogging my post and raising these questions. Web evolution is an interesting, but also very important issue that is still less of well study until now. I expect that my thoughts may bring a few momentum for the exploration of this topic.
According to your arguments, I have the following comments.
1) how can something that exists in abundance (zero marginal reproduction costs in an open environment), have a tension between supply and demand, as required in a market for pricing purposes?
mind asset may not necessarily be “zero marginal reproduction costs in an open environment”. What you described is what I called the low-quality mind asset, or the static aspect of mind, such as the explanation of a term as if an entry at Wikipedia. On the Web, these mind assets are presented in digital forms that can be easily copied and pasted anywhere. As you said, we can hardly make charge on this type of asset. The charge is not about the potential value of the content, but is about the quality of the presentation.
At the same time, however, I want to emphasize that this low cost charge on the basic mind asset forms is the fundamental for allowing mind being public circulating asset.
Now let’s watch some other types of mind asset, which I call the higher quality mind asset. For example, a Web widget is a portable Web service that describes certain dynamic aspect of human mind. Although any user may freely embed the widget in his own site, the service provider still has the control over this piece of embodied mind asset. Moreover, based on the “mutual consent of producers and users”, the producers of this high quality mind asset may select to charge the users and the users may select to take the charge or switch to other free or low-cost services. Then you start to see that somehow the “free-market” phenomenon is also effective on measuring the value of mind asset.
But these Web services are still not the really high quality mind asset if we watch it in the grand picture of Web evolution. Humans are going to produce new forms of mind asset with higher and higher quality that is more and more costly to reproduce even in an open environment. Actually, it is similar to our real world of capital. Many of us know how to produce a car, but it does not mean that many of us can successfully produce a car because it requires so many capital input that is out of the capability of ordinary people. Just the same, the Web evolution is to produce mind asset with new quality that can serve people better and better. But at the same time, these high quality mind asset will become harder and harder to reproduce because it requires so much mind input that is beyond the capability of any single person.
By this mean, you can see the tension between supply and demand of mind asset. This is what I say that by presenting mind in Web resources, we are able to objectively measure its value. Superior mind that knows how to continuously produce higher quality mind asset will be granted the high value. Through this way, the respect of humanity becomes realized since the eventual value of public asset is bound to the thinking ability of human brains but not the amount of money that the human bodies own.
2) how can you measure the value of an idea, with its implementation in a marketplace? Can any idea really be ‘uniformly be measured as capital?’, as you claim?
I think I may have already answered this question by the answers I made earlier. But I would like to explain it in more details.
Measuring the value of a mind asset is not about measuring the value of an idea. If you perform a mind asset measurement in this way, you are treating the mind to be a type of capital asset but not a mind asset. By contrast, measuring the value of a mind asset is about how much this mind asset has the ability to produce more mind asset. Such an ability is also the mentioned “quality” of mind asset. The reason you get confused is that you still used to think of a mind to be a capital asset but not a mind asset.
In free market, how do we measure the value of a capital asset? We actually measure it by seeing how much more capital asset can be produced by owning this piece of capital asset. Stock and bond are typical examples.
In similar, the value of mind asset is about how much more mind asset can be produced by owning this piece of mind asset. By contrast, the value of mind asset is not measured by how much capital can be produced by owning this piece of mind asset.
By this understanding, you then may easily see why I tell that static mind asset has less value because they have less ability of producing new mind asset (but not about its own capitalized value). By contrast, dynamic mind asset often has greater value because they usually have greater ability of producing new mind asset (again it is not about its own capitalized value). Also, what I called Web-1.0-quality resources generally have less value than Web-2.0-quality resources because the former ones have less ability to produce more mind asset than the latter ones. By contrast, it is not about Web-1.0-quality resources are less valuable (in the sense of capital) than Web-2.0-quality resources.