What is tradescrittership (tradesmanship)?
What qualities are associated with the concept of "tradesman" or "tradesperson?" And which of those qualities are relevant to the pub wan movement?
Here are some of the many "flavors" of the word "trade," specifically those consistent with its use as a root word of "tradesperson."
- learning a trade
- skilled trade
- stock in trade
- trade secret
- trade union
- tricks of the trade
I think it is safe to say that all of these concepts have implications for informational transparency, and hence for pubwan. The question is what, if anything, should the pubwan movement be doing to address the issue of tradescrittership, and how far should we go with it? I think tradescrittership should be dealt with as a "back burner" agenda, if at all, since this is an area where transparency movements in general have come up against organized resistance, legal problems (remember, pubwan is lawful!) and 47 other varieties of heck.
Most knowledge takes one of two forms. Knowledge can be natural or artificial. An example of natural knowledge is knowledge of mathematics. The study of mathematics is a good investment, if for no other reason, because the knowledge gained through such study can't be "taken away." It can't be obsoleted like, say, knowledge of a software version. Artificial knowledge that is obsoletable can also be referred to as proprietary knowledge. Natural knowledge is researched, studied, exposited and published. Proprietary knowledge is "taught" in "proprietary (i.e. trade) schools." It is subject to nondisclosure agreements, trade secrets, planned obsolescence. Like all forms of mysticism, it is intended as a means of social control, which is to say, the consolidation and wielding of power.
The dichotomy between natural and artificial knowledge should not be confused with the dichotomy between pure and applied knowledge. Applied knowledge is the creation (or design) of technology. The designing of technology is an abstract form of the pubwan method. It is a negotiated compromise between goals and constraints. Design constraints, like combinatorial constraints (the stuff of pubwan), are either natural or artificial (i.e. normative, see norm spec). If artificial/normative constraints are treated as proprietary, design technology guided by them will also be proprietary. An example of proprietary normative constraints would be design requirements shared as confidential between vendors and customers. An example of nonproprietary normative constrints would be statutory design requirements, such as electrical codes. The "dichotomy" between proprietary and nonproprietary normative constraints (or norms) has its ambiguities. Information (hence also education) about public norms can be effectively "privatized" through arbitrary complexity or arbitrary revision. Consider the Internal Revenue Code, and the legions of attorneys and accountants who are uniquely qualified to understand it.
The pubwan approach to tradescrittership
- reverse engineer