- “Donald Harris on copyright law and alcohol prohibition,” Surprisingly Free (Aug. 14, 2012) “Donald P. Harris, associate professor of law at Temple University discusses the regulation of file sharing. Harris explains that Alcohol Prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s as an historical example of laws that were inconsistent with the vast majority of society’s morals and norms. Looking back, one can see many similarities between the Alcohol and Filesharing Prohibitions. Harris suggests, then, that lessons learned from the failed “noble experiment” of Alcohol Prohibition should be applied to the current filesharing controversy. Doing so, he advocates legalizing certain noncommercial filesharing. A scheme along those lines would better comport with societal norms, he argues, and would force new business models to replace outdated and ineffective business models.” Harris is not an IP abolitionist, but he does at least suggest we consider legalizing file sharing for noncommerical uses.
- “The Spy Who Saved D-Day,” Slate’s The Afterword (Aug. 16, 2012). An interview with Stephan Talty. “Juan Pujol was an underachieving Barcelona chicken farmer until World War II, when he transformed himself into an accomplished anti-Nazi spy. Using only his amazing gift for inventing credible lies, Pujol became Germany’s most valuable secret agent—but he was really a double agent, working with Britain’s intelligence service. Stephan Talty’s book Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler & Saved D-Daytells the story of Pujol’s complex deception and how he convinced Germany’s high command that the D-Day invasion of Normandy was just a feint, while the real attack was aimed at Calais. The interview lasts around 30 minutes.”
- Jeff Tucker discusses his new book A Beautiful Anarchy: how to Create your own Civilization in the Digital Age in this vimeo video and in an interview with Stefan Molyneux.
- “Ohanian on the Great Recession and the Labor Market,” Econtalk (Aug. 20, 2012). “Lee Ohanian of UCLA talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the recession, the recovery, and the state of labor market. Ohanian describes the unusual aspects of this recession and recovery in the United States as shown by the labor market and the unusual performance of hours worked, productivity, and wages. He also discusses the behavior of business investment and speculates as to why this recession and the recovery has been so different in the United States. The conversation closes with a discussion of the role of the foreclosure process in encouraging unemployment.” I found interesting Ohanian’s discussion of wage stickiness—for example, how wages could fall in response to a recession. He says that workers are quite willing to work for lower wages in response to changed market conditions, but that various state interventions into the market inhibit this adjustment, from soft coercion to regulations to laws.