Reporters And Economics

from the please-learn-before-you-speak dept

Why is it that so many people feel the need to cite “basic economics” and then so clearly show they have no clue about those very same basic economics? It’s done by politicians all the time, and now journalists are getting into the act as well. The latest is Charles Cooper, over at who claims that “free stuff” on the internet violates basic economics. Without even getting into the very basic economics of publishing on the web (I’ve done that too many times before), I’ll just point out that giving stuff away for free is a time-honered tradition in our capitalist society. It’s called advertising. “Buy one, get one free”. There are plenty of ways to make money by giving stuff away for free – it just depends on the business model. The fact that sites were giving stuff away for free and couldn’t make money isn’t a violation of basic economics. It was a violation of being a smart entrepreneur. Just because they couldn’t figure out a good working business model by giving away stuff for free, means that they weren’t very creative entrepreneurs. It has nothing to do with basic economics.

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Comments on “Reporters And Economics”

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Mgallagher says:

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thanks for making this point. Economics is nothing more than a way of describing the way people interact in value exchanges. If you can extract some positive rent by giving away news articles, more power to you.

The point has been made here (by several people) that there is a very strange market condition involved with the internet, in that the >marginal costs of production are effectively zero. That’s going to make for some interesting business models to be able to make a proft. Suggesting that there’s only one way (subscription) as Cooper does is just plain silly.

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