Thursday, March 08, 2007

Intellectual monopoly is evil!

The basic conclusion of this book is that intellectual monopoly – patents, copyrights and restrictive licensing agreements – should be swept away. Always beware of theorists bearing radical ideas – most ideas are bad, and most theories are wrong. This book may be yet and other entry in that long list of confused and confusing dreamers.

Therefore, we must first and foremost convince you that our ideas are firmly grounded in facts and practice – most innovations have taken place without the benefit of intellectual monopoly. Indeed, the system of intellectual monopoly as it exists today is of recent vintage –- some parts of the current system are only a few years old and their damaging effects are already visible and dramatic.

No Gardens of Utopia, then, but the fertile fields of Practical Experience, as illustrated by thriving markets without intellectual monopoly, that is what this and the next chapter are about.

These bold claims are from the second chapter in Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine, both of Washington University in St. Louis. Given the stand taken by the authors, it's not surprising that the entire book is available online. Do check it out.

Thanks to David Warsh for the pointer.