There are important lessons to be learned from the Great Depression but I have the impression that the left emerged with the view that the New Deal was required to save the US from rampant capitalism. There is an alternative account. For an MP3 version of the story.
I just clicked on Amazon’s ‘add to my shopping cart’ and got told that four books had changed price. Usually they have gone up. Or that’s been my experience. But things are a-changing as you can see from the excerpt below. Is this deflation, increasing copying, competition from free content on the net. Who knows. But it - and the fact that some of the prices are such odd numbers - are perhaps signs of the times.
Here is today’s column for the Financial Review.
Patently there’s a problem
As Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”.
Our biggest mistakes often come when we’re most untroubled by our logic – even when it’s wrong! For decades we’ve been applying this syllogism: Intellectual property (IP) stimulates innovation and creativity. Therefore stronger IP generates more.
I’ve made various suggestions about the possible terrificness of open source approaches to government, for instance here.
I (Nicholas Gruen) was going on about the renewed importance of public goods to the Review Panel on the Innovation System and so they asked me and another economists on the panel to do a bit of a write up for them. For various logistical reasons, the ultimate document was run up by me the night before the next meeting. I’ve reproduced it below the fold with a few nips and tucks mainly to remove typos etc. It’s not rocket science, and readers of my stuff on this blog won’t find anything much that’s terribly new, but nevertheless, for the record, it’s below.
Quite a while ago, Kevin Cox approached me with an idea he had called ‘energy rewards’. Kevin may wish to chime in on comments with an appropriate link to the best explanation of the idea. In any event it’s a method of generating purpose specific permits or certificates which are given out as a reward, and is then constrains the beneficiary to spend it in a certain way.
By Dr Nicholas Gruen, Australia 2020 Summit Delegate
150 years after Adam Smith first expounded the miraculous way the market's ‘invisible hand' transforms private self interest into social prosperity, some economists argued that we could achieve the same result with sufficiently sophisticated government planning.
Enter the Austrian émigré Friedrich Hayek . . . who showed that markets achieve their efficiency by utilising information which is distributed throughout the economy and so often unavailable to government.