-- <firstname.lastname@example.org> Kragen Sitaker <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/> Silence may not be golden, but at least it's quiet. Don't speak unless you can improve the silence. I have often regretted my speech, never my silence. -- ancient philosopher Syrus (?) via Adam Rifkin, <email@example.com>
---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 16:34:56 -0800 (PST) From: Phil Agre <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Red Rock Eater News Service <email@example.com> Subject: [RRE]notes and recommendations
Some notes on distance education, the cyberspace ideology, the concept of trust, the economics of the Y2K problem, supposed childhood friends who look you up on the Internet, the cultural learning curve around a new technology, and (of course) cheap pens. Plus recommendations and URL's.
Some people have noticed that my e-mail now bears the return address of firstname.lastname@example.org, and have asked if that's the address they should use when writing to me. The answer is no. My official e-mail address, which should work in perpetuity, is still "email@example.com".
David Noble's latest article about distance education provoked as much hate mail as you might expect. You're not interested in the personal abuse and all-around cheap shots in several of these messages. More interesting is the underlying form of their arguments. Although nobody openly says this, the conflict here is between two tacit views of the relation between technology and power. Noble comes from a tradition that regards technology as an instrument of power and its plans. Power, he believes, wants to replace people with machines, regardless of whether it is efficient or decent to do so, simply because the machines make us easier to control. The history of this perspective stretches across centuries, and Noble regards distance education as simply the next chapter in that history.
Noble's opponents, on the other hand, assume that technology is the natural enemy of power. They believe that technology has its own inner logic, that this logic is unstoppable, and that its inevitable effect is to destroy hidebound institutions and to overthrow their oppressive masters. They apply these assumptions not only to the university system, but to governments and hierarchies of all sorts, and they get upset if anybody challenges the virtues of technology.
These two views cannot both be correct, and you will be unsurprised to hear that I believe that the truth lies in the middle. That's not because I'm a centrist, as someone suggested. A centrist is someone whose views are defined in relation to the views of others -- Slobodan Milosevic is a centrist in the terms of Serbian politics. Rather, I have repeatedly noticed that opposite-extreme ideas are, in practice, evil twins that feed on one another. To be sure, each of the extreme views is useful as a counter to the other, and each side directs our attention to factors that the other side defines away. What's valuable in the perspective of Noble's critics, for example, is an insistence on the unanticipated consequences of new technologies. And what's valuable in Noble's perspective is its insistence that the proper unit of analysis is machinery plus institutions. The machinery and the institutions, that is, evolve together.
That's a sympathetic reading of Noble, of course -- the unsympathetic reading would be that power completely shapes and defines technology to its own liking. But then, close empirical study of the development of real computer systems in real organizations *has* documented the technical choices that reinforce existing power relations. So the contrary perspective, that technology imposes its own logic on the institutional world, has some explaining to do. It might be argued, for example, that the old world of bespoke applications development may have left plenty of room for managerial finagling, but that the new world of globalized software standards and open networking will be different. Even there, however, serious study has documented the domination of some important standards processes -- in electronic commerce, for example -- by those interested players who have the resources to participate in endless complicated meetings. So the matter is very far from settled, and objections to Noble must be based on something more than stereotypes.
My purpose in distributing Noble's essays, therefore, is not to signal complete agreement with them. I just send things to this list because I find them interesting, and I find Noble's essays interesting because they do counterbalance a cargo-cult faith in technology that I regard as dangerous. It would be a disaster if society ignored the issues that Noble writes about. Some people hate college professors; they are willing to disband the professoriat and hand absolute control of higher education to university administrators and accrediting organizations. When they describe their program, of course, it doesn't sound like they're trying to centralize control over human knowledge. They tell a story of markets and decentralization etc even though that story makes no sense. But that's how authoritarianism works: it creates an enemy that is so gigantic that people are willing to suspend critical thinking and hand all power to an authority that promises to protect them from it. I am not opposed to technology, not at all. I am just opposed to technological agendas that promise that our salvation can be found in the logic of inanimate objects.
My messages debunking the cyberspace ideology have made some people happy. Those people are sick of the hype, and are relieved to know that they're not alone. But other people are upset, and these upset people have kept me thinking away at the problem. The upset people often argue that their wild-eyed millennialism is simply an expression of their "optimism" -- the implication being that their critics have some kind of personality problem. This argument is simplistic, not to mention offensive. Mindless optimism and mindless pessimism are equally useless. What's needed, instead, is analysis. And the problem with cyberspace is not that it is disproportionate to the wondrous reality, but that it is analytically *wrong* -- that is, it describes the world inaccurately.
Cyberspace, in other words, does not exist. The Internet does exist, and so do a lot of other technologies, and even more technologies are on the way, and the adoption of those technologies will eventually bring major changes to the world. The point, however, is that neither the technologies nor the changes are well described as the creation of a distinct, separate, autonomous pseudo-place that could reasonably be called "cyberspace". The concept of cyberspace is destructive because it draws our attention away from the most consequential effects of the adoption of distributed information technologies. It focuses our attention on unrepresentative cases, it interferes with our attempts to conceptualize the material and institutional context in which online interactions occur, and it makes us less likely to ask many important questions. Not only that, but the cyberspace ideology makes a vast number of predictions, the great majority of which are turning out to be 180 degrees the opposite of the truth.
Why, then, does the cyberspace ideology persist? Where does it gets its power over our minds? These questions have oppressed me as I have been reading Randall Collins' magnum opus, "The Sociology of Philosophies" (Harvard University Press, 1998). And in reading Collins, I was struck by the analogy between the cyberspace ideology and the German philosophy of the early 19th century, particularly the radical idealism of Johann Fichte. Fichte believed that the whole world was a creation of the human mind, and his extreme subjectivistic relativism figures as the bad guy in many histories (e.g., Michael A. Gillespie, Nihilism before Nietzsche, University of Chicago Press, 1995). Collins observes that this outburst of idealism is mysterious, given that the Enlightenment had just gotten done discrediting esoteric philosophy in favor of science. The solution to this mystery, Collins argues, lies in institutional changes. He observes that idealistic philosophies have emerged in most countries in the generation after the rise of independent university systems; idealism is, he argues, an ideological expression of the newfound autonomy of intellectuals. It usually flourishes for one or two generations as its various subtendencies challenge one another to develop their arguments, and then it usually fades away after its internal tensions come to the surface and competing philosophies take center stage.
The cyberspace ideology is another variety of radical idealism. It posits a world, the one called "cyberspace", that is completely and entirely a projection of the human mind -- cyberspace is whatever you program it to be. It then posits either that we will all effectively move into cyberspace in the years to come, or that cyberspace will reconstruct the rest of the world in its image. Recalcitrant atoms -- paper, ink, bricks, mortar, bodies, and so on -- will give way to the city of bits, and human life will become a consensual hallucination.
Perhaps, following Collins, the cyberspace ideology is itself the ideological expression an institutional change -- the rise of start-up culture with its sense of being the vanguard of a social revolution. This, after all, is very much the rhetoric, even if the rhetoric is sometimes as much wishful as real. Wired, for example, tells its advertisers that its readers are about twenty years old than you'd think they'd be from reading the magazine. Another analogy would be the elaborate ideology of engineers circa 1900, although this newer ideology does not share the technocratic rationalism of the older one.
So am I a pessimist? Hell no. I'm an optimist, but I'm the kind of optimist that's opposed to the cargo cult. Technology has little or no essence. Counting on technology is like counting on politics -- you can get good technology or bad, good politics or bad, depending on lots of things. The question is not whether we should support technology but what values we want technology to embody. The Internet that we know today embodies something good -- the strong and positive desire the people feel to build community with others who share similar experiences -- and something bad -- the difficulty of maintaining personal boundaries. This negotiation of intimacy and distance, community and individuality, will only intensify as the technology develops. And we will only be able to reconcile these tensions in the future if we get serious about designing the technology today -- and not just the technology, but the institutions in which it is embedded. Hope may be good religion, but it is bad engineering.
About trust. At the most recent Telecom Policy Research Conference, I stayed up all night before my scheduled talk and wrote a new paper to complement the one that I originally submitted for the proceedings. This newer paper went out to RRE under the title "The market and the net: Personal boundaries and the future of market institutions". Its thesis was that neoclassical economics and cyberspace ideology share a normative picture of the human person: they both hold, if not quite explicitly, that efficient markets and packet switching should both be employed to continually reconfigure human relationships, matching people with their optimal partners from moment to moment. I regard this as an unhealthy thing to want, and I suggested that the Internet applications that we know today unnecessarily promote the compulsive establishment of relationships with people one hardly knows.
After hearing this talk, Paul Resnick was troubled. He said that his work, and indeed most work in electronic commerce, could be understood as establishing the conditions under which people can trust strangers, and he didn't understand my opposition to this. I had been awake all night, so I couldn't comprehend his question at the time. It took me a few weeks before I understood the problem. As Herbert Burkert pointed out in his very good chapter in our "Technology and Privacy" volume, when electronic commerce people talk about "trust", they are actually talking about the opposite of what normal people usually mean by the word. To trust someone, in normal usage, is precisely to place yourself at a certain risk without formal guarantees of your safety. If you don't trust someone, then you insist on contracts and proof and collateral and documentation and video surveillance and elaborate cryptographic payment protocols and so forth. And if you *do* trust someone then you don't insist on these things.
If Herbert is correct then Paul (together with many other people) is wrong: the purpose of electronic commerce mechanisms is not to enable trust but rather to make trust unnecessary. This is what Douglass North is talking about when he praises the impersonality of the market: efficient markets require that buyers be connected with the widest possible range of sellers, and vice versa. It follows that efficient markets cannot depend on the deals made by small groups of individuals bound together in long-term intimate relationships. Large-scale trade requires impersonal institutions because strangers could not negotiate and enforce every one of their transactions if every deal had to be built from scratch.
The impersonal market model makes some sense when we're talking about trade in old-fashioned, self-contained commodities such as clothing and food. Even in these cases, however, the quaint tales of zero-sum barter in legal and economic texts is wildly misleading. North makes it clear why this is. Modern trade in anything except perhaps garage sale items is bound together with an elaborate array of institutions: the credit system, standards organizations, consumer protection law, and so on. Furthermore, as products become more complicated, market interactions become more relationship-oriented. When you buy a car from a dealer, for example, you are buying more and more of a long- term relationship to the company that made it. And once your car goes on the Internet, this relationship will be capable of some complexity. The result of this evolution doesn't deserve to be called "trust", since the whole point of the institutions is to make trust in the normal sense unnecessary, but neither does it suffice to call it "impersonal". We need better vocabulary for these things.
Maybe I'm just mean, but when I look at an iMac, I see a DEC VT 220. I'm very pleased to see that Apple's public relations department has returned from its decade-long vacation. But I'm not pleased with these news articles about "Is Apple Back?". No, Apple is not back. Steve Jobs surrendered the company to Microsoft because that was the only rational course of action. Apple is at the wrong end of some iron-clad standards dynamics, and it lives only because Microsoft's antitrust defense would suffer if it died.
About Y2K. One RRE reader was distress by my assertion that the Y2K problem originates in computer culture's lack of a functioning concept of historical time. He says that he was in the room when some of the fateful date-representation choices were made, and that the problem lay not with the programmers, who understood the problem perfectly well, but with the cost accountants. While I have heard plenty of stories about programmers who never dreamed that their systems would still be in use in 2000, cost accountants are plausible villains as well. Heaven knows they've caused plenty of harm in other areas (see H. Thomas Johnson and Robert S. Kaplan, Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1987). So to be fair, then, let's do the math -- that is, let's see when it was economically rational to ignore the Y2K problem.
Consider an application that was written in 1960. The programmers had to decide whether to represent dates with two digits, or whether to add an extra digit, or indeed an extra bit, to extend the lifetime of the program well into the 21st century. Memory was expensive back then, and the year 2000 was a long ways off. Assume:
* the cost of repairing the program in the year 1999 is R -- say, $1,000,000 in 1999 dollars
* the cost of a byte of memory was p -- somewhere on the very general order of magnitude of $0.01 in 1960 dollars
* the amount of memory to be saved by compact date representation was M bytes -- for an application that maintains a database with N records, with several dates per record, and only one additional bit needed to extend the lifetime of the program, this would be on the order of 1,000,000 bytes
* $1 in 1960 is equivalent to about $7.50 in 1999 dollars
* the opportunity cost of an investment made in 1960 over 39 years is calculated on an ROI basis of 10% per annum -- a factor of 41
then the 1960 discounted present value of an expenditure of R in 1999 was about R/41 in 1999 dollars or about R/300 in 1960 dollars. If R equals $1,000,000, then the discounted value of that investment in 1960 dollars is about $3,200. That means that introducing the Y2K bug into one's program was economically rational if Mp -- the number of bytes that would be needed times the 1960 cost of those bytes -- was greater than $3,200. If M was 1,000,000 then bytes were too valuable if they cost more than one-third of a cent apiece. And that doesn't count 40 years of continuing costs such as maintenance, back-up, air conditioning, and so on.
So it wasn't totally unreasonable for major applications to represent dates compactly in 1960 even though they could foresee the need for an expensive upgrade in 1999. Still, this optimistic theory of economic rationality implies that dates were represented compactly only when it was rational to do so, and that smaller programs used four-digit dates and that larger programs used two-digit dates only in those data records that would be instantiated most extensively -- large arrays, for example. Others will know better than I whether these predictions hold true.
Like most people whose e-mail addresses get around the Internet, I have been getting a steady stream of messages from distant relatives, as well as from people I haven't seen for decades. The Internet would seem to be changing an important feature of human relationships: we no longer take for granted that people disappear. It's bad, of course, when people disappear without warning, whether because of the secret police or the demon in the bottle. But it has long been normal, as a cultural matter, for people to disappear from one's life in particular circumstances. To take an example... When "white pages" services began to appear on the Internet, I wasn't all that curious about them beyond wanting to make sure that I wasn't listed in them. But I was just barely curious enough to pull one of these services up and, just once, type in the name of an old girlfriend from the 1980's. Bad idea: her name appeared on my screen with an address and phone number in Maine. (Her name might fill phone books in Poland, but not here. It was probably her.) I instantly regretted this, and wished that I could erase all knowledge of her present whereabouts from my mind. The problem is not that I'm tempted to contact her -- the chances of this are truly zero. Nor does the problem pertain to any leftover feelings -- after all, we're talking fifteen years ago. The problem is just having her located anywhere definite on my mental map of the world. It's better sometimes if people disappear.
Thus the problem with these messages that keep arriving from my past. Some people are happy to relive their childhoods, but I'm not one of them. So what do I do with these messages from people I knew in junior high school? I don't want to be rude. After all, I'm the one who disappeared on them one day when I got myself accepted to college three years ahead of schedule and promptly vanished without a trace. So I'm polite, but I don't invite long correspondences. Likewise with the distant relatives. I've helped them considerably with their genealogical projects, in fact, for example bringing home detailed family registers from a trip to Norway. But I've had enough family now for several lifetimes, so beyond the documentary assistance I just act polite and let things trail off. I'm sure they understand.
I've been thinking about this because of a series of messages that I got the other day. These messages purported to originate with one "Joel S.", or "Joel C." -- he provided two different last names, one in the header of the messages and the other in the body. This guy claimed to be a long-lost childhood friend of mine who stumbled across my address on the Internet. I felt odd about this, given that I could not recall ever having known someone by that name, and certainly not as a close childhood friend. (It's not like I had a lot of close childhood friends.) I said so, apologetically, and after a couple of messages he said "I must have the wrong address. I am really embarrassed. Please accept my apologies." and went away.
A normal case of mistaken identity, right? Maybe not. The whole thing doesn't add up. First of all, I'm fairly confident of being the only Phil Agre on planet Earth. It's not a common name. Second, the guy's messages were internally contradictory. He said that we had been parted since childhood but still seemed to assume that I knew about his marriage, which had supposedly just broken up. He said "I'm still at the same number", suggesting that he's still living in his parents' house, but the telephone exchange he provided did not exist in my town when I was a child. He never even named the town. The messages themselves seemed phony -- too generic, somehow, with their briefly sketched tale of divorce. Above all, the guy asked me if he could stay at my house. He didn't indicate that he knew where I lived, even though I live 3000 miles away from the town where I grew up. Nor did he have a clear reason for his request.
So here's this guy who sends me a message out of nowhere, tries to persuade me that we are long-lost childhood friends now reunited by the Internet, and wants to stay at my house. What are the odds that this is a scam, and quite a dangerous one at that? How many people, having given in to feelings of shame at having completely forgotten a childhood friend, would pretend that they remembered this guy and actually invite him into their house? I ask just in case anybody else out there has received similar messages.
For the sake of argument, then, let us say that I have now identified a new category of online scams. Some people will respond to this by blaming the medium. The Internet, it will be held, is not just a place where rumors spread and hackers prety, but it is also a place where dangerous scam artists guilt-trip their way into people's homes. It's important how we respond to such ideas. One tendency is denial: this is the approach of many Internet defenders, who also belittle the whole idea of pedophiles and pornography online. Another tendency is essentialism: talking as if the Internet as such, by its nature, ahistorically, is a place of rumors and hacking and scams.
I believe that both of these approaches are unreasonable. What's happening right now is a phase of cultural learning: the culture is learning how to use the Internet. Every technology goes through this phase: the culture learned how to use the telephone, the television, and the personal computer, and now it is learning how to use the Internet. One part of the learning curve is always story-telling: both passing around specific anecdotes, generally polished into mythical form through repeated retellings, and then putting names on these anecdotes so that they become symbols for a larger pattern. Many of these larger patterns are promoted by interested parties, such as the public relations firms that have invested great energy in hyping the notion that the Internet spreads bad rumors that innocent companies must retain PR firms to guard against. In other cases the stereotyping is simply a matter of cognitive economy: we can't know everything, so stereotypes reduce the complexity to something we can manage.
The cultural learning curve around any new technology is necessarily a collective construction: a large-scale process of sharing both stories and concepts. In this way, every single Internet user will eventually learn about those urban-myth cookie recipes that spread around as chain e-mail, and the little boy who supposedly wants to set a world's record for get-well cards (I got another one of those just today), and so on. Once the culture comes up with names for all of the potential pathologies of Internet-use, a lot of those pathologies will disappear simply because people stop participating in them. That's the process of cultural learning, and it's an important idea: it doesn't suffice to say that "people" (i.e., isolated individuals) learn to use a new technology. Instead, we must recognize different levels of analysis. Cultures learn to use technologies, and individuals both participate in those larger cultural processes and, having heard what the culture has to say about the technologies, then confront the technologies as individuals when their turn comes.
The idea that it's cultures, not just individuals, that learn how to use technologies should have significant consequences. When we encounter a phenomenon on the Internet -- for example, the putative long-lost-childhood-friend scam -- we should neither deny it nor treat it as part of the essence of the technology. Instead, we should be conscious of the cultural learning curve, and we should try to nurture that learning curve as best we can. This is the motivation behind my "how-to" articles, and it is also the motivation behind a lot of the best reporting on the Internet, such as the very good introductions to the phenomenology of the digital world in the New York Times' Thursday "Circuits" section.
The cultural learning curve should also have implications for design. Present-day personal computers are too isolated, so that the transfer of know-who between individuals is too difficult, and present-day Internet applications force people into an excessive intimacy, so that people have a hard time screening bad stuff out of their mailboxes and hard drives, not to mention their minds. We need a better understanding of the cultural learning process so that we can build applications and institutions that support it rather than frustrating or exploiting it.
The Microsoft Corporation has come up repeatedly on this list as an example of the malfunctions of the software market, so I ought to disclose that I recently agreed to write an article about privacy for the "yearbook" update to Microsoft's Encarta encyclopedia. I thought for a while before agreeing to do this. I certainly needed the money, so that was part of it. But the money obviously isn't a good enough reason if it's immoral to do business with Microsoft. Now Microsoft has never been a successful competitor in any major content or service area, so one might argue that writing an article for Encarta is not the moral equivalent of inducing somebody to use Internet Explorer. But on the other hand, I expect that some people argue that Microsoft cut off Encyclopedia Britannica's air supply the same way they cut off Netscape's -- flooding the market with nearly-free copies of a shoddy competitive product. I expect that other people will argue that Encyclopedia Britannica, much like Netscape, dug its own grave. I guess we'll see whether I go to heaven when I die.
In any case, one needn't worry that Microsoft and I disagree about what should go into the article. They provided me with a detailed outline, but I had no trouble saying just what I thought within it. In fact, they want to make stronger statements tending toward the need for medical privacy regulation than I wrote in my first draft. (I try to muffle my advocacy thing when I'm acting as an official authority, teaching in a classroom or writing for an encyclopedia.)
Having been directed by several knowlegeable RRE subscribers, I just got back from an expedition to the Kinokuniya stores in LA's Little Tokyo. Both of them -- a small stationery store on the second floor of the Yaohan supermarket at 4th and Alameda and the stationery department of the Kinokuniya bookstore on the second floor of the Weller Court shopping mall at 2nd and San Pedro -- have perhaps a couple dozen models of Japanese pens that I haven't seen elsewhere. I dropped thirty clams and got two Sakura Ballsign gel pens (including one in the series that writes on black paper -- look for the sparkly cap), a couple of Uni-Ball Signos, a couple of Uni Lakubos, a Pentel Hybrid "milky" pen (prominently advertised as the thing for teens), a Tombo Coat highlighter/fax marker, a Super-GP 0.7 (to compare with the 1.2 that Stephan Somogyi sent me from the Kinokuniya store in San Francisco), a Pilot Hi-Tec-C, a large mysterious gold-colored Pilot with a spring-action tip that I haven't gotten working yet, a Pilot V-corn, and a Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5C. Only the last two are liquid- ink pens, both seemingly variants on pens that I've gotten elsewhere. I'll let you know more about these pens (and a couple of pens with marbly multi-colored ink that I've left in my car) once I've had a chance to road-test them.
For those who haven't seen it, most of my previous commentaries on pens are available on the Web at:
Recommended: Thomas Vinterberg's film, "The Celebration". Shot in a deliberately spare style, with a hand-held camera that will make you seasick for the first three minutes, this is an incredible Danish film about a screwed-up family and its out-of-control family reunion.
Recommended: The Manchester Guardian weekly edition has recently begun publishing a once-a-month supplement English translations of Le Monde Diplomatique. They've done perhaps three so far, and they've been excellent. I sure don't always agree with them, but it's such a breath of fresh air to see independent reporting about the rest of the world. The American press is notorious for its lack of interest in the rest of the world, and the excessive government influence on the New York Times' foreign reporting has been well documented. Subscriptions to the Guardian can be had from firstname.lastname@example.org, and Le Monde Diplomatique is online at http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/en/
Not recommended: PR Week. This is a new tabloid trade rag serving the public relations industry. Although I've certainly never been a PR person, I've read a great deal on the subject, taught a course on it, and talked at length with many PR people. And I didn't learn a darn thing from the first issue of PR week. Okay, so some PR shop is making a speciality of Y2K-related PR; I'm sure that their fellow PR people will benefit by learning about that. But the feature articles, about topics like crisis PR, were remarkably lazy, simply recycling ideas that have been around for ten years if not forty.
Random Credit Card Fraud with Small Charges http://www.labmed.umn.edu/%7Ejohn/ccfraud.html
"Who Will Own Your Next Good Idea" by Charles Mann http://www3.theatlantic.com/issues/98sep/copy.htm
International Journal of Electronic Commerce http://www.cba.bgsu.edu/ijec/
Electronic Markets http://www.electronicmarkets.org/
Information Center for Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China http://www.hrichina.org
News Archive on Lin Hai Case http://www.ifcss.org/ftp-pub/org/dck/linhai/innews/
article about Palm Pilot-assisted auto theft http://www.newscientist.com/ns/981205/newsstory6.html
DL'99, Berkeley, 11-14 August 1999 http://fox.cs.vt.edu/DL99/
ACM conference on information retrieval, Berkeley, 15-19 August 1999 http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/conferences/sigir99/
speech on communication and democracy by Henrikas Yushkiavitshus of UNESCO http://www.orbicom.uqam.ca/english/papers/corpus/yush.html
virtual university conference http://www.nau.edu/rufis99
Conference on Computing and Philosophy, Pittsburgh, 5-7 August 1999 http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/CAAE/CAP/CAPpage.html
LA public defenders' office page on wiretapping http://pd.co.la.ca.us/index.htm
The Alertbox: Current Issues in Web Usability http://www.useit.com/alertbox/
Working papers on socio-economic impact of advanced communications http://www.databank.it/dbc/fair/wp_list.htm
Encyclopedia of Law and Economics http://encyclo.findlaw.com/index.html