Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 08:44:29 -0700

David Fetter wrote:
> Ah, another libertarian bullshit stock phrase trots out. 

Keep fighting the good fight but in *my* case I was taking what was
at most a very weak libertarian position:  that if we have two solutions
for allocating a resource, one market based and one based on a
centralized bureaucracy, that probably the market solution is preferable.

This is just a management question, ultimately.   I'm pretty sure my
city government would do a terrible job setting prices at the local
grocery store (or allocating shares of food imported into the city).
They're pretty good at regulating a market of competing food importers
and retailers, though.   (One of the loudest, longest debates in city
politics in recent years has exactly been about tweaking our market
regulations this way and that to indirectly focus the market competition
on plenty-of-good-food-inexpensively-and-accessibly-without-nasty-
-side-effects.  Without these and similar efforts, "livability" and quality
of life metrics here would probably look much more volatile, as they
do in almost all of our close-proximity neighboring cities.)

Given such a proposed choice between markets and bureaucracy -- as in
two approaches to establishing the validity, scope, and term of patents --
one useful response is for people who know a thing or three about
microeconomics to chime in and say  "You realize, of course, that the
market you propose probably isn't going to behave
anything like what you hope it will," and, in my book, if those people
are right, that's a vote for the centralized bureaucracy.

But, yes, naive, reflexive, ahistoric, aneconomic libertarian
arguments do tend towards the pointless and annoying.  I think
there are fewer of those around here than you seem to think but,
if you pick a fight against such arguments, I'm sure you can provoke
plenty.


-t