- Richard Posner asks Do patent and copyright law restrict competition and creativity excessively?
I am concerned that both patent and copyright protection, though particularly the former, may be excessive.
- Gary Becker on Reforming the Patent System Toward a Minimalist System
The patent system (I concentrate on patents) is supposed to encourage innovation, the foundation of economic progress. It does this by giving patent recipients exclusive control for a specified period of time over use of their patented goods, machinery, processes, or services. It has long been recognized that patents impose costs on society since patents keep out competition, so that the monopoly power of patent holders enables them to raise prices and lower outputs. However, until recent years many other costs of the patent system received little attention, including paradoxically that this system might in fact discourage innovations.
- Winton Bates asks Is it the duty of government to realize the good life for all citizens?
Robert and Edward Skidelsky are unashamedly paternalistic in their views on the role of government. They recommend that governments should promote the good life by taxing the rich more heavily, imposing sumptuary taxes, regulating labour markets more extensively, disallowing tax deductions for advertising, and imposing more restrictions on international trade and capital flows. They see such interventions as necessary to ‘free up’ more time for leisure, reduce income inequality, improve the social bases of health, personality, respect and friendship, and help people to live in harmony with nature.
- Chris Dillow asks Why was Hobsbawm Wrongs?
Great historian, shameful politics. This is the standard reaction to Eric Hobsbawm's death.
- Liberty Scott on Hobsbawm - influential yes, deserving veneration? Hardly
The death of Eric Hobsbawm at 95 has provoked outpourings of paeans to his legacy, glorifying his undoubted significant contribution to the scholarship of history and in being influential, especially to Labour politicians in the UK. He has many fans, it includes Labour leader Ed Miliband, former NZ leftwing Prime Minister Helen Clark and a virtual who's who of leftwing activists in the UK today.
- John Taylor on Regulatory Expansion Versus Economic Expansion in Two Recoveries
Much can be learned by comparing the very weak recovery from the 2007-2009 recession with the very strong recovery from the 1981-82 recession. Both recessions were severe, and U.S. history shows that severe recessions tend to be followed by fast recoveries, even when the severe recession is due to a financial crisis. But growth has averaged only 2.2 percent in this recovery while it averaged 5.7 percent in the 1980s recovery
- Christopher Snowdon on A new approach to state-funded pressure groups
The question of whether the government should be funding pressure groups is one that faces politicians across the developed world. The Australian state of Queensland has decided that actions speak louder than words and is introducing a rule that says NGOs who rely on taxpayers’ money for more than 50 per cent of their income ‘must not advocate for state or federal legislative change’.