If Resources Aren't Scarce, Why Do You Need A Market?
from the just-wondering dept
Singleton admits that it's true that innovation is often about building on the works of others, but then tries to convince us that intellectual property protections fit fine with this, because it helps reward everyone in the chain. Basically, once you get rid of all the fluff about how copyright isn't really that bad, what she's saying is that copyright is good because it creates a market which helps people get paid. This is a compelling argument, and it's one that's been used before -- but it makes no sense once you think it through. The whole point of efficient markets is that they help figure out the best allocation of scarce resources. When the resources aren't scarce, you don't need them to be efficiently allocated. They're infinitely available and allocation no longer matters because everyone who wants it can have it. So imposing a market on infinite goods by introducing artificial scarcity isn't more efficient -- it's less efficient.
There's a simple example that should help make this clear. Air is an abundantly available resource. It's also quite valuable. By the view of those who think that any market is efficient, it should only make sense to give someone control over the air, and let them charge people to breathe. After all, think of what a huge boon to the economy it would be. Demand is extremely high and there's a tremendous market to be made in selling air. Yet, we think this is ridiculous. That's because air is abundant, and we don't need a market to efficiently allocate it. The same is true of ideas -- and coming up with a bogus restriction in the name of "markets" is just as silly as locking up the air and charging for it.