Archive for the ‘Tim Berners-Lee’ Category

“Resources” – a Fundamental Idea in Economics and the Web

August 5, 2007

Economists talk about resources.  For example, they talk about the demand for a resource, the abundance or scarcity of a resource, allocating resources, the price or value of a resource.

Examples of resources: mahogany wood,  oil, land.

The founding fathers of the web (e.g. Tim Berners-Lee) chose to also use the word “resource”.  On the web anything that can be identified by a URL is a resource.  For example, Google is a resource, identified by http://www.google.com.  A resource that no longer exists is indicated by the error message, 404: Resource Not Found.

Why did Tim Berners-Lee choose to use the word resource?  Did he see a parallel with resources in an economy?  I think the answer is yes.  Consider this: there is demand for web resources, e.g. there is a high demand for the Google resource, and there is a low demand for many other resources.  Web resources have a price or value, as evidenced by the recent purchases of certain web sites.  I am not sure that the web has a parallel concept of abundance or scarcity of a resource, or allocating resources.  (Can you think of a parallel?)

“Resource” seems to be a fundamental idea.