Re: Krugman looks back from 2096

Date: Tue Jul 11 2000 - 22:59:00 MDT

I found it curious that Krugman wrote: "Most important of all, the prophets
of an 'information economy' seem to have forgotten basic economics. When
something becomes abundant, it also becomes cheap. A world awash in
information will be a world in which information per se has very little
market value."

I'm not economics expert, but isn't Krugman misstating "basic economics"?
After all, an increase in supply decreases price only if demand does not
increase commensurately. I can think of a great many factors, however, that
will drive up the demand for information even as its supply increases.
Perhaps Krugman expects us to read in the standard caveat, "all else being
equal." But in this context, I think he needs to spell out--and defend--that

Relatedly, mere data does not equal information. Per Sturgeon's law, we
always have to sort the diamonds from the rough. Query as to which camp
Krugman's essay falls in. Data-sorting costs probably rise disproportionate
to the amount of data handled; certainly, I find I'm too busy to detail the
problems with Krugman's account of natural resources. In brief, data may
increase, but so might the costs of finding, and the demand for, useful

In a message dated 7/11/00 10:49:18 AM Pacific Daylight Time,

> I've defended Krugman as a good economist on this
> list. So in all fairness I should share this
> future speculation of his I just came across:
> Robin Hanson
> Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
> MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
> 703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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