Another Review of Freedomnomics

A critical review of my book by Max Sawicky can be found here. I have put up a couple of responses on his blog. As I write in my comment on his blog, I didn't expect us to agree on everything, but I really do appreciate him taking the time to write the review.

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Anonymous TGGP said...

Someone there brought up the issue of patents as a government granted monopoly. Many libertarians, like Richard Epstein, seem just fine with them. Recently I have turned away from them, primarily due to Stephan Kinsella's postings at the Mises website. As a lawyer (an I.P lawyer, ironically enough) associated with the Rothbard strain of Austrian economics, he prefers mostly rights-based arguments, like in his Against Intellectual Property. I'm mostly interested in consequences, which is why I used to think patents were a good thing due to the incentives to innovate they gave. Things like Patents and Copyrights: Do the Benefits Exceed the Costs?, There Is No Such Thing As A Free Patent, How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth Century World Fairs, Patents Chilling Effects on Science, How Gene Patents Are Putting Your Health at Rish and the related Patenting Life by Michael Crichton, this and A Patent Lie on the software industry, this on the fashion industry, the book Do Patents Work? whose conclusions are summarized here are all examples. I realize that's a lot and don't expect you to thoroughly examine them all, but it was something it was an issue I never even questioned before and now I do. In your book you discuss how some people assume there are "market failures" that the market can't resolve and require government intervention, when it frequently turns out that the market finds a way to solve the problem, whether with reputation or using advertisements on the radio. People often forget about government failure, which seems to me more prevalent than market failure, and considering that it is the government that grants intellectual property and decides what is or isn't sufficiently original and it is government courts in which cases are tried, that does not bode well for the patent system.

7/30/2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Without patents to protect the intellectual property we wouldn't have many inventions that we have today. Do these opponents want to get rid of copyright protection? If so, we wouldn't have very many new books either. Sorry that I don't have more time to deal with this right now.

7/30/2007 8:01 PM  

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