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  • R 10:35 am on October 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Stephan Kinsella   

    Stephan Kinsella: the law tries to impose scarcity on knowledge, which is already non-scarce. 

    In human life, there are two aspects of successful action. That is the actor has to have knowledge. Knowledge that informs him into what ends are possible, and knowledge as to what causal laws there are in the world that lets him choose their means, scarce means, that will help them causally achieve the ends. You have to have means, you have to have actual physical control, causal control over these means in order to achieve what you want. And the scarce means of action, are scarce. There is only so much of them to go around. That’s the way the world is.

    The free market heroically despite this, is always seeking to increase abundance. Even though we don’t have infinite abundance the free market is trying to increase abundance. Trying to alter means, find more efficient means of producing goods, lowering costs, increasing abundance. Basically, making things less scarce, even though we will never get away from that completely. So the market is trying to overcome this challenge that we have which is that there is scarcity in the physical world. There is lack of super-abundance but the free market tries to make things more abundant.

    But, that’s one ingredient of action, that’s having available these things to achieve our ends. But the knowledge luckily is already non-scarce. Knowledge can be multiplied or copied infinitely. Everyone in the world can know how to bake a cake at the same time. That’s why we have an increasing body of knowledge every generation because the more things people learn, the more it is recorded and transmitted, and learnt by others down the ages. We have this almost infinite duplicable body of knowledge that we can dip into to use. And the more of it the better. So the free market tries to overcome the problem of scarcity in the physical world but the law, tries to impose scarcity on knowledge, which is already non-scarce. So it is kind of a complete perversion.

  • R 6:59 am on July 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Stephan Kinsella   

    The True Danger of Intellectual Property 4 

    “IP is extremely insidious because, unlike the drug war, tax, or war, it is held out as a type of property right. Thus, in its name, the state can spy, fine, and jail, or even enlist private citizens to enforce these laws on their own behalf, as mini-state agents. Truly, we are becoming an IPolice State.”

    “The copyright system, besides imposing untold billions of cost on the economy, consumers, and artistic creation, and distorting the entire domain of creative works, is also being used as an excuse by the state to increase its surveillance, warrantless searches and seizures, punitive bans of people from the Internet without due process, censorship, cutting off websites accused of piracy, and control and regulation of the Internet and related technologies. As the Internet is one of the most significant tools ever to emerge to help people battle the state and communicate and learn and spread ideas, this is very chilling. In the name of stopping copyright piracy, the state is trying to squash mankind’s greatest anti-state weapon.4 Taxes are bad, but killing or restricting the Internet is just horrible. Copyright is worse.

    • Stephan Kinsella


  • R 8:53 pm on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Stephan Kinsella   

    Taking, stealing, theft, piracy are dishonest and inaccurate words. 

    Stephan Kinsella
    “There really is not a stronger argument. There is simply nothing wrong with copying, emulating, learning, competing. It is not “taking” an idea–the originator still has it. “Taking” is the wrong verb. If I see you build a log cabin and learn from you, and build my own, I have learned from you but not taken from you. Taking, stealing, theft, piracy are dishonest and inaccurate words. If you sell a product and people compete with you and mimic you and make it harder for you to make profit–that’s the free market process. Nothing at all wrong with that.”

  • R 7:17 pm on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Stephan Kinsella   

    The use of the word “property” is just a Propaganda Ploy 

    Stephan Kinsella said…
    Great post. At least the founders, as you have helped to demonstrate, themselves regarded patent and copyright as a special legal privilege, not as a natural right. So they kept the distinction straight. Modern IP advocates have not. In fact use of the word “property” is just a propaganda ploy, as observed by Fritz Machlup and Edith Penrose in two seminal studies:

    “Those who started using the word property in connection with inventions had a very definite purpose in mind: they wanted to substitute a word with a respectable connotation, “property”, for a word that had an unpleasant ring, “privilege”.

    [Fritz Machlup & Edith Penrose, “The Patent Controversy in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Economic History 10 (1950), p. 1, 16] http://c4sif.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Machlup-Penrose-The-Patent-Controversy-in-the-Nineteenth-Century-1950-b.pdf

    While some economists before 1873 were anxious to deny that patents conferred “monopolies”–and, indeed, had talked of “property in inventions” chiefly in order to avoid using the unpopular word “monopoly”–most of this squeamishness has disappeared. But most writers want to make it understood that these are not “odious” monopolies but rather “social monopolies”, “general welfare monopolies”, or “socially earned” monopolies. Most writers also point out with great emphasis that the monopoly grant is limited and conditional.

    [Fritz Machlup, U.S. Senate Subcommittee On Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights, An Economic Review of the Patent System, 85th Cong., 2nd Session, 1958, Study No. 15]”
    July 15, 2011 5:56 AM http://mises.org/resources/1182

    Original comment: http://agoraphilia.blogspot.com/2011/07/copyright-erodes-property.html?showComment=1310734609880#c1681585556155411961

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