Subject: Re: crux of the essence
From: Stephen J. Turnbull <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 17 Oct 2001 12:32:13 +0900

>>>>> "tony" == tony stanco <tony@freedevelopers.net> writes:

    tony> It is at least arguable that all economic theory of the last
    tony> 300 years was premised on the concept of property, because
    tony> it was trying to explain the Industrial Revolution and is
    tony> therefore irrelevant to a time that will be defined by
    tony> intellectual activity.

No, it is not arguable.  Intellectual activity is _not_ infinite and
costless, therefore conventional economic concepts of scarcity apply
to intellectual activity.  For example, you are wasting all of our
attention with this extremist blather.

It is true that ideas and other information goods are non-rival in
consumption.  Conventional economists certainly recognize this.  With
a few exceptions, they consider copyright and other forms of IP a
compromise.  But it is certainly arguable that few conventional
economists give non-rivalry the importance it deserves.  OK, what
you've said many times implies that, I got it.  Say something new and
different from what you've said before, please.  What's that you say?
Good new ideas are scarce?  Hmmm....

Nor does the increasing absolute importance of non-rival goods make
the part of the economy where scarcity rules less important.  It makes
scarcity ever _more_ important, because of the increased productivity
that the non-rival goods give to the scarce ones.  Non-scarce goods
require no management, so we need pay no (day-to-day) attention to
them.  Therefore decision-makers will continue to pay the lion's share
of attention to scarce goods.

Of course, we may all convert to Buddhism, and throw away all our
toys.  Then scarcity won't matter.

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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