Lee Daniel Crocker presents an argument about optimal exchange in order
to clarify the practical arguments about Intellectual Property. The
subject line for his article was "Hal Finney's optimal-production
argument", but I believe he missed a major point because he focussed on
a static view of the world.
The Austrian economists differ from most other market-oriented
economists in emphasizing a dynamic view of the market. The role of
exchange is not merely moving goods to their highest valued uses (as
Lee presents clearly), but also to create and distribute information
about the comparative availability of various goods, and the potential
value of various innovations.
As long as you focus on ensuring that goods move to their most valued
uses, you miss the point that real progress is only made when someone
notices the relative scarcity of things and invents a new way of
substituting one thing for another, or invents a new need and satisfies
it before potential customers realized they had a problem.
So, to my mind, the proper effects to consider when evaluating
competing proposals for what IP regime to favor are those that effect
how much invention will occur, not how much trade will occur. We can
easily design rules so that we can enforce whichever set of rights we
decide to believe in.
-- Currently reading: David Brin: "Infinity's Shore", Richard Alexander: "Biology of Moral Systems", Julian Simon "The Ultimate Resource II"
currently down: http://discuss.foresight.org/~hibbert/home.html
My netcom address has stopped working. My new email is email@example.com
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