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New Economy Forum Briefing
J. Bradford DeLong
- The E-conomy is an "idea
- What does that mean? That the
question of intellectual property becomes central.
- Ideas and "information
goods" have peculiar characteristics
- marginal costs that approach
- problems of transparency (in
order to buy it I should know what the information or idea is;
once I know it, in many cases, there is no need to buy it)
- non-rival possession. (If you
have a hamburger, I cannot have it. But if you know something,
and I learn it, you still know it. Once I know it, I no longer
have an incentive to compensate you to teach me.)
- Together, these characteristics
conspire to make market solutions problematic.
- Idea considered as property
are legal constructs that pose knotty policy problems.
- We want the ideas to circulate
in an intellectual commons. Otherwise how do we have progress
either in technical forms or in the arts?
- But if my ideas are available
to you without cost, my economic incentive to generate those
ideas is reduced.
- How do we balance incentives
to generate new ideas while at the same time sustaining the intellectual
commons--the ability of others to use ideas as building blocks
for new ideas?
- Five debates appear over and
- What should be covered by intellectual
- Whow owns intellectual property?
Do I own information about myself, or is it ownned by those who
electronically track my activities?
- How strong should intellectual
property rights be?
- By what mechanism should they
- What to do with the international
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