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Home / Tag Archives: Information Goods, Intellectual Property

Tag Archives: Information Goods, Intellectual Property

When the shoe was on the other foot (A suggestion for Chinese trade negotiators)

US trade negotiators complain that China is stealing or borrowing Western inventions without sufficient compensation. How might the Chinese negotiators respond? Here’s my suggestion. The Chinese might want to ask how much China has been compensated for its inventions. How much did the West pay China for the secret to making gunpowder? How much did the West pay China for the compass? How much did the West pay for the secret to making silk? How much did the West pay for...

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The US and China—more alike than you think

Here’s the Financial Times: Caught in the middle is Silicon Valley. Many US technology companies are concerned that China is using unfair and even illicit tactics to get ahead. But there are also rampant fears that the Trump administration’s approach could backfire. When the export controls notice was released, US technology lobbyists in Washington were at pains to explain that they were at risk of losing access to a big market for their new products, and of losing...

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What should be regarded as property?

I was originally going to entitle this post “What is property?” But that’s not really the question, is it? Tangible products such as bicycles and haircuts and food are considered by economists to be rival goods, consumption of the good by one person prevents its use by another.  Non-rival goods include things like broadcast TV.  If I tune in to Seinfeld, it doesn’t prevent another person from tuning in to the same show.  For that reasons, private broadcast TV...

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Parmesan cheese and Sunbucks Coffee

What are we to make of firms that sell products under name that misleads consumers? Consider an American firm selling “Parmesan” cheese that is actually made is Wisconsin, or a Chinese firm selling “Sunbucks Coffee” using a non-Starbucks recipe? I see good arguments both ways.  On the one hand, actual Parmesan cheese and actual Starbucks coffee are likely (albeit not certainly) better than the counterfeit version.  On the other hand, how much harm does counterfeiting...

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A Problem with Information Mandates

Even many very pro-free-market economists, noting that there is imperfect information in the marketplace, advocate that government provide information or require private firms to provide information. Even they often tend to regard government as an entity that will somehow provide the right kind of information or mandate that firms provide the right kind of information. In the real world, though, it is not that simple. Governments may provide irrelevant information or mandate irrelevant...

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