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The Virtuous Cycle of Software

Lately, I have been using the phrase, “cycle of virtue,” or “virtuous cycle,” to describe the phenom of wealth and goodness in software.

I think wealth is defined by the richness of one’s possibilities.
Historically, the first great tier of possibilities extends greatly if one has sufficient money, or material resources.

a) In general, when compared to most other things one could create, software produces more wealth.

b) It does so in proportion to its effective goodness.
Software is necessarily reasonable and practical. The amount of reason and utility typically grow over time as the software is understood and developed.
– software is almost immaterial,
-there is hardly any cost in distributing it,
-it tends to get more valuable as it is used more.

b) Great software makes vast wealth. It enriches its users and makers, and it enriches those who benefit from this. The amount of wealth generated correlates with the quality and extent of the software’s use.

c) Software is made by teams. The goodness of teams (and their software) is determined by the goodness of their love:
-love for themselves and each other;
-love for their creations and their own creativity;
-love for those who believe in them;
-love for their world and legacy.

Loving is virtuous behavior. The amount of software wealth you gain is determined by how much virtue you put into it. This is the virtuous cycle of good and wealth in software.

It would be tedious and take quite a while to more perfectly express and detail these ideas. I’m not going to do it now. I am sick of waiting for the time, and the will “to do it right” so often in my days. If you like you can pretend I did do that well and exhaustively. I definitely could. I have spent a long time experimenting and thinking and working these ideas with Michele and many of you.

Jim McCarthy


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