Ultimately, an information economy is one where ideas / thoughts are enclosed and become tradable property.

Problems

  • How do you police this? Only with intense monitoring of our ideas and thoughts. Or at least any expression / communication of them. It's incompatible with rights to privacy, FreedomOfSpeech etc. See AlwaysOnPanopticon
  • It impoverishes everyone culturally and intellectually. Ideas are not scarce. They multiply through being used / questioned / criticised. If you can't access your own culture without paying for it. If you can't create your own variations, then your culture is going to congeal into fixed icons.** (Is this why conservatives (OnConservatism feel the appeal of IP?)
  • How fair is it, to let people who know how to manipulate the IP / Patent system to grab ideas which other people might come up with independently?
  • Ideas are so valuable it's an incredibly strong form of centralizing wealth in the hands of a few.

Contrast :

The argument in IntellectualCapital from a lawyer who sees ideas as ripe for turning into "agrarian" assets.

Quora Answer : What is an absolute truth that no musician wants to hear?

Nov 29

We live in an economic system that's about trading scarce resources.

It's a system that only knows how to handle scarce resources. And only pays for scarcity.

But in the age of recording technology, music is not, in any way "scarce". It can be indefinitely copied and shared and enjoyed by all.

The nature of music is therefore to have no monetary value in our economy.

Many people love and want to dedicate their time to music. Over the centuries we've found hacks that allow this : from patronage to a market for scarce recordings etc. But none of these are "natural" or the way we should really be living. Making music artificially scarce just to keep a business model alive is profoundly wrong. And profoundly anti-music. And ultimately isn't sustainable in the long run.

Obviously the fault isn't with abundant music. Music is wonderful and should be available to all. The fault is with our economic system.

But many musicians seem to find it very distressing that music is worth nothing in the market. It's because they have been suckered into thinking that the economic system is right and music is wrong.

We need an economic system which can provide resources to the creators of non-scarce but valuable resources as well as scarce resources.

And musicians should join the fight for that. Instead of defending the current system and throwing their moral force behind artificial scarcity.

Quora Answer : Should musicians sell their music? Why or why not?

Nov 9, 2011

Sure. If they can. I (try to) sell some of mine. I sometimes buy music from artists I like.

What I think they should NOT do, is join in with attempts to punish those who share copies of the music. Music isn't a scarce resource and it's an absurdity to have the law pretend that it is.