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Entries Tagged as 'Economics'

Worst. Sale. Ever.

February 19th, 2012 · 7 Comments

Spotted by my eagle-eyed girlfriend this weekend at Whole Foods:

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Tags: Economics

On the Enforcement Fantasy

January 25th, 2012 · 14 Comments

This is probably the least interesting (because it should be so self-evident) and yet most important paragraph in a must-read Cory Doctorow essay: In short, [proponents of more aggressive copyright enforcement] made unrealistic demands on reality and reality did not oblige them. Copying only got easier following the passage of these laws—copying will only ever […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

No Logo: Brands and Chains in the Age of Mobile Internet

October 6th, 2011 · 18 Comments

It’s no coincidence that the rise of the American chain restaurant coincides pretty neatly with the automobile’s shift from an aristocratic toy to a mass means of transportation.  As society grew more mobile, a novel problem arose: As you found yourself routinely passing through areas you didn’t know intimately, how could you know where to […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics · Sociology · Tech and Tech Policy

“Hypocrisy” and Government Largesse (A One-Act Play)

September 23rd, 2011 · 7 Comments

Scene: Friday evening, 9 p.m., a group of friends are gathered around a living room table for poker night. Harry: OK, folks, snack time. I’m thinking we should order a couple pies from that new gourmet pizza place. Darrell: What, Mama Solyndra’s? That place is so overpriced! Let’s just go with some chips and salsa […]

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Tags: Economics · Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media

Quick Thought on the Netflix Split

September 19th, 2011 · 8 Comments

As the Internet scratches its Hydra-head over Netflix’s announcement that it’s splitting off its DVD-by-mail rental service under the unlovely heading of “Qwikster,” Tim Lee tweets that Bill Gurley’s speculation is the most plausible explanation he’s seen for a move consumers seem to be universally panning: So here is what I think happened with Netflix’s […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics

When Are Patents Obvious?

August 15th, 2011 · 19 Comments

I recently did a diavlog with my friend Tim Lee on the new BloggingHeads spinoff site TechHeads, during which I had a thought that seems like it might be worth spinning out. We’re all accustomed to seeing horror stories about ludicrously broad, bad technology patents that have given rise to a wasteful arms race between […]

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Tags: Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Good Defensive Patents Are Bad Patents

July 28th, 2011 · 35 Comments

Ron Bailey writes about last weekend’s excellent Planet Money story “When Patents Attack,” which focuses on the enormous market in “defensive” patents, purchased as a kind of retaliatory hedge against lawsuits from other technology companies: In early July, the bankrupt tech company Nortel put its 6,000 patents up for auction as part of a liquidation. […]

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Tags: Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Madman Theory 2.0

July 28th, 2011 · 5 Comments

Is it ever an advantage to be crazy? Or at least, to be perceived as crazy? Richard Nixon thought so: During the cold war, he notoriously developed his “madman theory,” a stratagem of having senior aides circulate their “concerns” that Nixon had gone unhinged, and might just hit that big red button if provoked, even […]

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Tags: Economics · Horse Race Politics

The Teleporter Library: A Copyright Thought Experiment

July 11th, 2011 · 20 Comments

Suppose that, back in the 70s, DARPA had developed two revolutionary networks. In addition to the precursor to the Internet we all know and love, they had also developed a teleportation network enabling small, inorganic objects to be instantly transmitted via miniature wormholes from any point on the network to any other point. The effect […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics · Law

Time, Love, and Taxes

June 29th, 2011 · 18 Comments

Notwithstanding the stereotype that libertarians care about little other than low taxes, I don’t write much about tax policy. But I was reflecting today on Nozick’s coyly Marx-inflected comparison of taxation to compulsory or stolen labor—which however overblown as rhetoric got me thinking about how different types of people might respond to the same tax […]

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Tags: Economics