Comments on: Progressive Egalitarians Should Be Anti-IP Property - Prosperity - Peace Sat, 09 May 2015 08:06:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Stephan Kinsella Fri, 03 Sep 2010 11:54:35 +0000 Stiglitz may have some qualms about patents but only because he doesn’t think it’s the optimal way for the state to tinker in the market–he seems to think that instead of the state granting a monopoly privilege to supplicants ahead of time to incentivize them, it should hand over taxpayer loot to a panel of state-appointed “experts” who are tasked with determining which innovators deserve a “prize”. I guess this is a more honest and open–maybe even more efficient–form of theft, trespass, and socialist redistribution than the patent system, but it doesn’t warm the cockles of my libertarian heart. Stiglitz is terrible.

[Update: I see you mentioned this, and other unlibertarian proposals Stiglitz made, in your excellent review.]

By: Jonathan Finegold Catalán Fri, 03 Sep 2010 05:01:49 +0000 Geoffrey,

Well, while I think your characterization of progressives is a bit off-track (full egalitarianism seems more of a communist or socialist trait, rather than a “progressive” trait [progressives being anything just left of center to democratic-socialists), I do see the irony. At the very least, progressives should at least support reducing the time intellectual property laws monopolize certain new products.

Interestingly, some progressives may be doing just that. One such example is Joseph Stiglitz, who in his book Making Globalization Work at first suggests reducing or eliminating patents on pharmaceutical products exported to the Third World. Stiglitz, of course, doesn’t take his logic to its fullest implications, but nevertheless concedes that current patent laws have made it very difficult for the Third World to acquire drugs which would otherwise have been inexpensive enough to afford (through third party manufacturers).

Furthermore, he makes some broader claims (although, the context these following statements were written in were one of agreement with at least some patent laws; see my review of his book here). Stiglitz writes,

“…[With] the enclosure of intellectual commons, there is a loss of efficiency… “Monopolization may not only result in static inefficiency but reduced innovation.”

Nevertheless, you are right that intellectual property laws do run contrary to egalitarianism.