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Wave of the future?

I'm always a bit skeptical when anyone claims that X is "the wave of the future." This is especially true when X has anything to do with blogging.

However, Tyler Cowen made some predictions along these lines in his response to Will Baude's 20 Questions™, and he might actually be on to something. Take a look: Read more »

Economics vs. Morality

I came across this Usenet post by David Friedman a while back discussing some of the practical ramifications of technological innovation in relation to what may soon be unenforcable IP rights. Here are a few points he mentions:

    1. I don't think anyone is entitled to earn a living doing what he likes to do--after all, you might like to do something that nobody else values having done.

Circular arguments

One of the arguments defenders of intellectual property rights use is that if we accept contract rights, we must accept intellectual property rights. The problem with this argument is that it is circular.

Assume that contract rights are universally agreed upon, but intellectual property rights are not. Now assume that individual A agrees to trade individual B the rights to use a piece of intellectual property X in exchange for quantity of money Y, on the condition that B does not share X with anyone else. Based on our initial assumption, this contract is universally agreed upon as valid. Read more »

An IP skeptic

In response to David's post below, allow me to jump into the fray.

I find the debate over the validity and proper implementation of intellectual property rights both incredibly complex and incredibly interesting. I am certainly no expert in this area, but I am familiar with a few of the disputes and issues involved. Allow me to delineate a few of them.

First of all, I classify the positions taken in this debate into three broad categories: strong IP, weak IP, and no IP. Read more »

The problem with principles


Words to live by

If there are three words that need to be used more in American journalism, commentary, politics, personal life... it's the magic words "I don't know."

- P.J. O'Rourke, in The Onion interview, via Matt Welch at Hit and Run

Return of the Gangsta

Attention Idea Shoppers: Andrew Chamberlain is back in business.

The paradox of gift

Will Baude responds to my previous post, The Social Construction of Matrimony. Read more »

The social construction of matrimony

Will Baude disapproves of the advice, offered by Slate's Dear Prudence, to explicitly ask for cash as a wedding gift in an effort to avoid useless presents.

I'm somewhat surprised at Will's reaction, considering that he comes from a law and economics background, and yet his argument here strikes me as highly sociological. Perhaps Will has been spending a bit too much time around some Critical Legal Theorists lately? (Kidding, I hope) Read more »

Liability, shmiability

In preparation for a speech I'm giving tomorrow, I was re-reading Eric Raymond's excellent Libertarian FAQ. In response to the question, "What would libertarians do about concentrations of corporate power?", I came across this interesting tidbit:

    We'd abolish the limited-liability shield laws to make corporate officers and stockholders fully responsible for a corporation's actions.

Howdy, Jury Duty

Jon Mandle of Crooked Timber fame mentions that he has been selected for (Grand) jury duty. I, too, have recently been selected for jury duty, and the selection raised some interesting moral and legal questions. Read more »

Put It Back!

The 10 Commandments Music Video.

(Thanks to Protocols)

Negative feedback loops

Randly Balko has some insightful (and depressing) commentary on political feedback loops: Read more »

A lawsuit waiting to happen


This and more in today's PhotoBleat.

Market morality

While researching the "living wage" debate, I came across this old Paul Krugman article, written five years ago. He makes an interesting observation towards the end: Read more »