Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 11:25:33 +0900

>>>>> "Ben" == Ben Tilly <> writes:

    >> Once again you are looking at the wrong thing.

    Ben> How so?

You keep taking the North, with its own supply curve and its own
demand curve, and the South, with its own supply curve and its own
demand curve, and connecting the intersection point on graph A with
the intersection point on graph B, and claiming that shows something
about a *third* supply curve on graph B, which nobody has drawn yet.

It doesn't.  Not without a lot more work.

    Ben> It is very easy for unrectified theft to be worthwhile for
    Ben> the thief...

How do you know?  Sure, it's guaranteed to be a positive profit, but
what proof have you that there are no alternatives worth significantly

Remember, the original question was "is freedom more profitable than
slavery?", not "will slavery quickly go bankrupt by itself?"

    >> Of course it's an economic question, and of course freedom qua
    >> freedom makes a great deal of sense in economic terms, despite
    >> the fact that my colleagues and I have yet to find a good way
    >> to measure it or implement it in our models.

    Ben> Only if you believe that all things should become part of the
    Ben> province of economics.

A consumer is a person who chooses what he likes, under some
restrictions on expenditure.  Many people say they like freedom, and
by golly they act that way at some expense to themselves.  There may
be things we can learn about this decision to bear some expense from
consumer theory.  That is economic analysis, stripped to the buck-
nekkid essentials.

By defining the province of economics to be those things that are
currently measured in dollars, you are condemning economics to
rationalize the market, and leaving it no role in criticizing existing

Of course you know to what subject Adam Smith's chair was dedicated.
It's certainly appropriate that the somewhat arid subject of modern
economics be given a different name, yet some of us practicing
economists aspire to be worthy to return to such a chair someday.

Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba
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        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory