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Would a world in which no information were kept secret be a better or a worse world? The creators of the internet pushed forth ideas of open source and collaboration just as research in math, computer science, physics, and chemistry has traditionally been open.

One could on the other hand argue that the existence of "closed" / classified information may be beneficial to society as a whole as opposed to just to those who possess and exploit this "secret" information. But how would you go about arguing that? What examples and abstract arguments/ideas can one coffee up with?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by o.m., bilbo_pingouin, Cort Ammon, Xandar The Zenon, Hohmannfan Jul 11 '16 at 22:29

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Think this is too broad. Try focusing on one issue e.g. impacts on intelligence services. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Jul 11 '16 at 20:18
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    $\begingroup$ Hello Jack, I agree with Bellerephon that this is too broad. This board is to help people who are building fictional worlds for games, stories, etc., usually we don't start from a very broad premise. $\endgroup$ – o.m. Jul 11 '16 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ If that's the case you might try Philosophy philosophy.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Seeds Jul 11 '16 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ May I advice the movie "The Invention of Lying" as source material. It does an amusing job of describing such a world. That being said, the part which makes this incredibly broad is that you can't touch the question without first defining a metric for valuing worlds. There's also the question of slowly moving information, rather than letting it propagate as fast as possible. Sometimes you don't need to keep something secret, just delay how fast others acquire the information. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jul 11 '16 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ Secrecy is advantageous in warfare.  A world without hostile conflict might have less need for secrecy, and would (by most people’s opinion?) be a better world. But, by extension, secrecy is advantageous in other forms of competition.  A world without secrecy might be seen as offering less incentive for investigation and research, if people can’t get a business benefit from secret knowledge; thus, societal growth might suffer.  But if patents and copyrights are the same as in our world, this effect might be mitigated. I offer this, not to answer the question, but to illustrate how broad it is. $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Jul 11 '16 at 22:02
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The strongest argument for closed information systems involves the motivation to create information. If all knowledge upon acquisition, becomes the property of everyone, then what is motivation for investing time and money to acquire that knowledge.

A secondary argument would hold that some knowledge (such as the recipe for explosives) is too dangerous for public distribution and should be kept secret.

Finally, there are philosophical stands that need to be suppressed to keep them from interfering with the efficient functioning of any society. In many cases, radical and revolutionary philosophies tempt members of a society into pointless rebellion, when greater prosperity could be obtained easily by embracing and participating in the society's current architecture. All revolutions lead to bloodshed, but few actually improve the lives of the people they liberate. Closed systems defend the content from unnecessary upheavals.

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  • $\begingroup$ Because it might be useful. Even if publicly available, that knowledge could be of fundamental use on laying the groundwork for further investigation. As to the dangerous bit, would you say done scientists, such as those publishing physics results leading to the atomic bomb, we're unwise or careless? Thirdly, perhaps few revolutions improve things, but that may be because the change is not gradual, could that be? $\endgroup$ – Jack Maddington Jul 11 '16 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ These forums are not a great place for debates. Occasionally, separate answers will contradict each other and lead to discussions in the chat area, but using this comments feature to argue the opposing sides of any issue is usually frowned upon by the moderators. The same people who are currently voting to close your question as too broad, will soon visit the comments area to tell us to take it into the chat section. ...and I never go into the chat section. I believe in contributing to the WBSE, but I don't have time for one-on-one debates. Best of luck with your question! $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Jul 11 '16 at 21:42

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