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Author Topic: Read this before having an opinion on economics  (Read 23848 times)
NghtRppr
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April 30, 2011, 04:48:34 AM
 #161

Question: Do you believe that a single person can be harmed without it having a negative impact on others?

If you own a lemonade stand and I start giving out free lemonade while standing next to it, I'm harming you but I'm also helping other people by giving out free lemonade. The question is a matter of whether or not there is a net benefit to society by IP laws. Just because the lack of IP laws may hurt the author of a book doesn't mean it can't help others.
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LH66
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April 30, 2011, 05:09:30 AM
 #162

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If you own a lemonade stand and I start giving out free lemonade while standing next to it, I'm harming you but I'm also helping other people by giving out free lemonade. The question is a matter of whether or not there is a net benefit to society by IP laws. Just because the lack of IP laws may hurt the author of a book doesn't mean it can't help others.

I see the net effect as harming both of us. You're giving people your resources in exchange for nothing in return. This results in a net loss for you. This is not sustainable. Unless you have the resources of a very wealthy person (and perhaps you do but I assumed we were discussing the ordinary person), you won't be able to afford to give away the lemons, the sugar, the water, the table, the chair, the sign, the napkins, the cups, not to mention the opportunity cost of losing that time to a money making endeavor.... maybe you could have been trading stocks instead of giving away lemonade.

Questions: what is your reason for giving away the lemonade? Do you foresee doing this for a long period of time? If so, how will you regain your costs so that you can continue? If won't continue for a long period of time, why not?

I, on the other hand, once I see that the lemonade market is not profitable, will either seek to make it profitable, or seek a market that is. I'm going to make money, one way or another. And I will do so by helping people.

I have found, the hard way, that people do not value what is given. I used to occassionally give away my time in the hope that the client would appreciate it. I found the exact opposite. The people who wanted, and got, my time for free were very ungrateful. The clients who pay are grateful. Just how it works.


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NghtRppr
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April 30, 2011, 06:42:01 PM
 #163

The point was only that some things can harm some people while helping others. That should be fairly uncontroversial. If you don't like the lemonade stand analogy then I'm sure you can tweak it a little so that it fits, instead of giving it away, selling it at a lower price or even the same price. I'm still hurting your business by not giving you the entire market to yourself. I'm sure you could come up with your own example if you gave it enough thought.

This leaves us with the real question regarding IP laws: are they a net benefit or a net harm to society? If you don't know one way or the other and can't provide evidence to backup your assertion then you have no business advocating the existence of such laws. One assumes that the state of nature is the default and that we don't keep laws on the books without good reason. I personally think that IP laws are a net harm because it stifles innovation, i.e. nobody can use the likeness of existing fictional characters to reinterpret them into new contexts and stories.
BitterTea
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April 30, 2011, 06:47:30 PM
 #164

I feel that it comes down to a simple question.

Do you have the right to use force against me in order to control the way in which your idea is used?
NghtRppr
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April 30, 2011, 06:53:30 PM
 #165

Do you have the right to use force against me in order to control the way in which your idea is used?

Some people think initiating violence is acceptable as long as there is a net benefit to society. I disagree with that but I would also like to point out that it hasn't even been established that there is a net benefit to society as far as intellectual property laws are concerned.
BitterTea
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April 30, 2011, 07:00:20 PM
 #166

I think it also has to be established that society can be benefited or harmed. No action can be taken against or for society, only against or for individuals. To say that the initiation of force is acceptable when it benefits society is to say that it is acceptable to aggress against some individual or group for the benefit of another individual or group.
LH66
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April 30, 2011, 07:57:05 PM
 #167

The point was only that some things can harm some people while helping others. That should be fairly uncontroversial. If you don't like the lemonade stand analogy then I'm sure you can tweak it a little so that it fits, instead of giving it away, selling it at a lower price or even the same price. I'm still hurting your business by not giving you the entire market to yourself. I'm sure you could come up with your own example if you gave it enough thought.

This leaves us with the real question regarding IP laws: are they a net benefit or a net harm to society? If you don't know one way or the other and can't provide evidence to backup your assertion then you have no business advocating the existence of such laws. One assumes that the state of nature is the default and that we don't keep laws on the books without good reason. I personally think that IP laws are a net harm because it stifles innovation, i.e. nobody can use the likeness of existing fictional characters to reinterpret them into new contexts and stories.

I liked your analogy very much actually. My conclusion from it is that without certain protections, people in my position are subject to the free rider problem. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_rider_problem) Your analogy creates a net loss for society, not only for us individually. Neither of us can sustain the creation of lemonade so society loses since they can't get lemonade.

Speaking in terms of economic theory: my view is that IP laws attempt to take intellectual creations that would otherwise be public goods, and turns them into private goods.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_good

Without IP laws, intellectual creations would remain public goods and are then subject to the free rider problem. This means that the creators of those goods would not have an incentive to continue creating them, and society would lose since it would have fewer inventions, etc.

Without IP laws, how do you suggest addressing the free rider problem?

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LH66
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April 30, 2011, 08:05:21 PM
 #168

I feel that it comes down to a simple question.

Do you have the right to use force against me in order to control the way in which your idea is used?

If you took one of my ebooks and tried to sell it without my permission, then I have the right to redress the situation via the judicial system.

As I stated above, all IP laws do is to take something that would otherwise be a public good, and turn it into a private good. This is to avoid the free rider problem.

For argument's sake, let's remove IP laws and turn all intellectual creations into public goods. (please see links above so we're using the same definitions for the italicized terms) What then is your suggestion to avoid the free rider problem?

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BitterTea
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April 30, 2011, 09:16:22 PM
 #169

If you took one of my ebooks and tried to sell it without my permission, then I have the right to redress the situation via the judicial system.

I think this simplifies to: individuals have the right to control the use of the ideas they share with others, through force if necessary. Do you agree with this? Keep in mind that if I don't acknowledge your right to drag me to court, police will come and take me by force.

We agree on the rights of life, liberty, and property. From these principles, how do you derive the right to control the use of your ideas?

Even if I agree that there is a right to intellectual property, I do not agree that it supersedes the right to liberty of thought or action. How do you arrive at the conclusion that it does?

These are the points of contention that prevent me from supporting the idea of intellectual property.
LH66
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April 30, 2011, 09:50:12 PM
 #170

I realize reading economic theory is probably not on anybody's list of things to do on a weekend....   Wink

but if you do, then you may know my answer to your questions.

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The Script
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April 30, 2011, 10:41:14 PM
 #171

I realize reading economic theory is probably not on anybody's list of things to do on a weekend....   Wink

but if you do, then you may know my answer to your questions.

Actually it is something I would do on a weekend...can you say nerd? Tongue  The problem with this, though, is:who's economic theory? Austrian? Keynsiansim? Chicago school? The conclusions we'd come to would vary depending on which school we "followed".  This is why it's better if you actually explain your stand on Bitter Tea's questions instead of making us guess. That way, too, we can start the name calling when we discover we don't agree on economic theories.  Wink
NghtRppr
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May 01, 2011, 02:06:51 AM
 #172

This means that the creators of those goods would not have an incentive to continue creating them, and society would lose since it would have fewer inventions, etc.

That is simply false. There is still the incentive for the enjoyment of creating, becoming famous from creating, selling live performances, donations, etc. There are people that wish to create but can't because you can't use characters from existing works for fear of lawsuits. So it seems to me that even though there will be some discouragement to some people there will be encouragement to others. Which outweighs which? Do you have anything to offer aside from your gut feelings?
LH66
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May 02, 2011, 03:15:31 AM
 #173


Actually it is something I would do on a weekend...can you say nerd? Tongue 

haha yea me too.

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The problem with this, though, is:who's economic theory? Austrian? Keynsiansim? Chicago school? The conclusions we'd come to would vary depending on which school we "followed".  This is why it's better if you actually explain your stand on Bitter Tea's questions instead of making us guess. That way, too, we can start the name calling when we discover we don't agree on economic theories.  Wink

It's basic microeconomics 101. It's not advanced stuff, just took microecon two semesters ago and learned those concepts then, then came across those links as I researched my answers here.

If you don't want to read them, that's OK. But I have already explained the concepts in a nutshell. The italicised words can be referenced via the links. I think it would be helpful if you read the links, but like I said if you don't want to then that's OK too.

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LH66
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May 02, 2011, 03:18:32 AM
 #174

This means that the creators of those goods would not have an incentive to continue creating them, and society would lose since it would have fewer inventions, etc.

That is simply false. There is still the incentive for the enjoyment of creating, becoming famous from creating, selling live performances, donations, etc. There are people that wish to create but can't because you can't use characters from existing works for fear of lawsuits. So it seems to me that even though there will be some discouragement to some people there will be encouragement to others. Which outweighs which? Do you have anything to offer aside from your gut feelings?

If you don't want to read the links, that's fine, but I've stated my position and also supported it. It's not a gut feeling. I cannot continue this conversation since we're not playing equally - I have answered your questions, but many of my questions you have not answered.

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BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 03:40:56 AM
 #175

Is there anybody that can answer my two simple questions?

From where do you derive the right to intellectual property, and why does it supercede my right to liberty?
The Script
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May 02, 2011, 08:08:12 AM
 #176

Is there anybody that can answer my two simple questions?

From where do you derive the right to intellectual property, and why does it supercede my right to liberty?

Well, to play the Devil's Advocate, where does your right to liberty come from and why does it supersede someone's IP rights?
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May 02, 2011, 08:11:46 AM
 #177


Actually it is something I would do on a weekend...can you say nerd? Tongue 

haha yea me too.

Quote
The problem with this, though, is:who's economic theory? Austrian? Keynsiansim? Chicago school? The conclusions we'd come to would vary depending on which school we "followed".  This is why it's better if you actually explain your stand on Bitter Tea's questions instead of making us guess. That way, too, we can start the name calling when we discover we don't agree on economic theories.  Wink

It's basic microeconomics 101. It's not advanced stuff, just took microecon two semesters ago and learned those concepts then, then came across those links as I researched my answers here.

If you don't want to read them, that's OK. But I have already explained the concepts in a nutshell. The italicised words can be referenced via the links. I think it would be helpful if you read the links, but like I said if you don't want to then that's OK too.

Oh hey, I guess I wasn't paying that close attention to what you meant. I'm familiar with those economic concepts (I took a basic microeconomics class too, and have done a fair amount of independent reading) but I'll take a look at those links later and get back to you. It's late and I'm on my iPad so it's hard to type long responses.  Tongue
benjamindees
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May 02, 2011, 10:47:46 AM
 #178

Is there anybody that can answer my two simple questions?

From where do you derive the right to intellectual property, and why does it supercede my right to liberty?

The right to IP comes from my ability to keep it secret.

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deadlizard
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May 02, 2011, 11:22:24 AM
 #179

Is there anybody that can answer my two simple questions?

From where do you derive the right to intellectual property, and why does it supercede my right to liberty?
From where do you derive rights at all?

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wolciph
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May 02, 2011, 12:51:27 PM
 #180

This means that the creators of those goods would not have an incentive to continue creating them, and society would lose since it would have fewer inventions, etc.

That is simply false. There is still the incentive for the enjoyment of creating, becoming famous from creating, selling live performances, donations, etc. There are people that wish to create but can't because you can't use characters from existing works for fear of lawsuits. So it seems to me that even though there will be some discouragement to some people there will be encouragement to others. Which outweighs which? Do you have anything to offer aside from your gut feelings?

I would also like to add that we have a plethora of real world examples of free (as in free speech) intellectual creations being created and quite often working out better than commercialized intellectual creations. We have loads of free software for example, and not many computer scientists would argue that msdos is a better kernel than linux. We also have wikipedia that accumulated around 16 million USD of donations last year. So not only are people willing to give away there time for free in doing tasks that benefit the community as a whole but also, people are willing to give them money for doing so.
I would also like to point out - although this can be considered a subjective opinion I suppose - that intellectual works made with only money as an incentive (e.g. most big movies) are plain crap since their goal is not the expression of an artistic vision from the creator but just creating as much money as possible by pleasing the evermore stupid crowd of people who will buy it.
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