Re: An impending economic singularity? [Re: Singularity: Vinge responds]

Mike Linksvayer (
Fri, 18 Sep 1998 14:08:47 -0400

On Fri, Sep 18, 1998 at 11:46:33AM +0100, Charlie Stross wrote:
> Copyright was
> introduced because the effects of _not_ restricting the ownership of
> copying rights to the originator of a work were damaging the ability
> of those originators to support themselves, producing more work;

Copyright was introduced to protect the profits of publishers, not originators, although that justification was later used. See "Intellectual Property: A Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Approach" by Tom G. Palmer in the Hamline Law Review, 1989, pp. 261-304 and the cover story of the September Atlantic magazine on IP for discussions of this.

I feel that the property status of information will be the single greatest non-engineering factor in shaping societies of the next century. If we continue down the path of increasing property protections for information we will likely have a society run by state/corporate cartels with huge disparities of wealth between information owners and non-owners and a very boring culture.

However, I feel that anything qualifying as a "singularity" will be engineering-driven. Nanotech implies drastic changes irregardless of the property regime it occurs in, short of a totalitarian one that could completely control access to the technology.

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