The Information Economy Is Not About Selling Information

from the bingo dept

What took me a whole series of posts to explain, Cory Doctorow has summed up succinctly in a column for Information Week: the "information economy" is not about selling information -- it's about using information to make everything else more valuable. The problem is that many in the US believe that the information economy is about selling information, and that mistake explains many of the strategic mistakes made over the past few decades that we've been describing here. Unfortunately, as we've been noting, the US has bet so strongly on the idea of the information economy being about selling information that it's pushing other countries to put laws in place that support the US's position on this -- and doing so under the false banner of "free trade." The purpose of real free trade is that it's beneficial to both parties through the efficiencies afforded by comparative advantage. In this case, however, these new protectionist policies are only beneficial to the US -- and, as Cory notes, this means they'll eventually be ignored. The benefit is too strong not to ignore them. And, once that happens, then it's those other countries that gain the benefits of recognizing that information makes everything else more valuable, while the US suffers under the modern equivalent of information mercantilism. It's not good for the US economy. It's not good for US businesses -- and yet due to this one incorrect belief, it's what we're left with.
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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 12 Jun 2007 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Pushing other countries?

    The IW article clearly states that the US provides tariff-free trade if the signing countries agree to honor our copyright laws. Simple.

    Right. "Honor our copyright laws" by passing laws in their own country that are often even more draconian than our laws.

    If you don't like our laws, sell your crap elsewhere, or pay the tariff.

    You seem to be confused here. The point is that in setting up these protectionist policies, we're actually harming our own economy -- just as any protectionist policy eventually leads to problems.

    I agree that not all intellectual property is protect-able, but stealing is stealing, and I get sick and tired of the excuse that since millions do it, oh well..

    First of all, recognize the difference between stealing and infringement.

    Second, we have NEVER said that it's ok. We have said that people shouldn't do it. What we've said is that *FROM THE PRODUCERS' STANDPOINT* you can be better off ignoring IP laws.

    Why do you put words in my mouth that are the exact opposite of what I say?

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