Despite all your taunts about "question begging," "hand-waving empirical assertions," "propaganda," and not "being serious," it seems to me as if you are the one who isn't serious.
Serious people don't say things like the following: "IN fact all the studies point the other way, yet you guys jsut ignore them."
See " Intellectual Property Rights in the New Economy
," by Keith Maskus.
See also the WIPO - UNU Joint Research Project
from 2007 on the economic impact of IP systems in six Asian countries.
See also " The Economic Value of Intellectual Property
," by Robert J. Shapiro & Kevin A. Hassett.
See also " Does Intellectual Property Protection Spur Technological Change?
" by Sunil Kanwar & Robert Evenson.
See also, " Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study
," by Edwin Mansfield.
etc., etc., etc.
It's almost like you are not even serious. You just want to utter a propagandistic truism and be done with it, so that patent and copyright remain in place despite the carping of people who are thinking about it more seriously.
Look in the mirror, bro.
It almost seems like your real motivation for all this over-the-top rhetoric can be found here:
I was always interested in science, truth, goodness and fairness. I have always been strongly individualistic and merit-oriented. This is probably because I was adopted and thus have always tended to cavalierly dismiss the importance of "blood ties" and any inherited or "unearned" group characteristics. This made me an ideal candidate to be enthralled by Ayn Rand's master-of-universe "I don't need anything from you or owe you anything" themes.
Another factor is my strong sense of outrage at injustice, which probably developed as a result of my hatred of bullies and bullying. I was frequently attacked by them as a kid because I was small for my age, bookish and a smartass. Not a good combination.
A librarian at my high school (Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana) one day recommended Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead to me. (I believe this was in 1982, when I was a junior in high school — the same year Rand died.) "Read this. You'll like it," she told me. I devoured it. Rand's ruthless logic of justice appealed to me.
This is like a mirror image, Bizarro World version of a former poster named SpidermanTUba...
But dueling citations and references to authorities or motivations get us nowhere. So if you're asking what my own basic argument is in a nutshell, I'll give it to you.
1. There is a high correlation between nations that respect and enforce IP rights, and the degree of technological innovation that occurs in those nations. This is obvious. The only reasonable counter-argument to the existence of IP is that historical correlation does not equal causation.
2. The political, economic, and legal structures in which technological R&D occurs is so complex that it is virtually impossible to disentangle all the specific forms of direct causation from various individual IP laws. Therefore, the best non-historical arguments in favor of IP will necessarily be rather general and theoretical.
3. The general argument for allowing innovators to temporarily restrict their competition is simple. All that is necessary is to demonstrate that a cost-benefit trade off does in fact occur (as any decent law & econ scholar will tell you) for big corporations or other institutions that turn innovation into a continual capital-intensive process, and that an optimal balance can be struck at some point where the positive net balance to society is at its greatest.
Any argument against this would have to show either (A) that the net balance is always negative (which is simply implausible--see (4) below), or (B) that moral arguments trump economic growth, thus conceding the whole economic argument to begin with. Note that one could argue that the current IP system does more harm than good, and it still would not mean that all IP is bad. Note also that one could argue that public R&D is better than private, and yet that would really just be another form of IP protection, except that the restrictions to private competition would benefit a public/government corporation rather than a private one.
4. When I wrote in (3) about "big corporations or other institutions that turn innovation into a continual capital-intensive process," these do in fact exist, and they do accomplish things that could not be done in the absence of IP protection. Whether we're talking about the university departments that developed electronic computers with the help of government funding, or Bell Laboratories, or IBM, or the Manhattan Project--none of these organizations would have accomplished their technological projects without either government funding or government-provided protection against competitors.
If you are against patent, copyright, and trademark protection, then that only leaves you with fraud and trade secret protection. But this is not enough. Indeed, a major public policy motivation for the preservation of patent law is to incentivize the publishing of private technological trade secrets so that all might share in them after a set period of time, and to avoid the cloak-and-dagger inefficiencies, litigation, and burdensome employment contract restrictions that result from a trade-secret-only paradigm.
It's a beautiful thing to have collaborative open-source innovation occur, but the reality is that for a capitalist
system to function properly, entrepreneurs and innovators must be given incentives to make capital
intensive investments into risky, long-term projects. When information can be leaked and copied without legal recourse, those incentives are blunted, and moreover, a wasteful amount of resources are spent on building walls of secrecy around industrial knowledge. That's not good for anyone.
This post was edited on 3/24 at 12:49 pm