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What practice is most damaging to standardization?

Oksala sees competition between groups the most damaging practice. He is concerned that ``we are increasingly seeing groups compete to the point of publication. Tony Rutkowski and others have argued that the more competition the better, but I see a number of significant problems.'' The rationale for his position is primarily economic.

standards groups are not . . . independent companies; they are mechanisms through which real companies come to agreements with their competition and customers. (Note that all the resources really belong to the participants, not to the organization!) Competition is therefore either the same people paying twice, or groups of companies fighting each other. Or both at the same time.
Oksala goes on to suggest that:
given that there is significant competition, and further given that there are no rules on process (e.g. ANSI accreditation) for many of the participants, I would think that the dynamics of the situation would tend to approach that of a proprietary market, but with cartels replacing companies - and with many companies belonging to more than one cartel! The whole thing seems ``not sensible'' in terms of rational economic behavior.

Michael Spring
Mon Nov 27 18:45:46 EST 1995