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Posts Tagged ‘monopoly’

The American Bar Association: An Economic Perspective

In Academia, America, American History, Economics, History, Humane Economy, Law, Law School, Legal Education & Pedagogy, Libertarianism on October 18, 2017 at 6:45 am

Jefferson and Information Policy

In Arts & Letters, Information Design, Jurisprudence, Literary Theory & Criticism, Politics, Rhetoric & Communication on May 18, 2010 at 7:11 pm


Since the emergence of the Internet and the innovations of information technology, intellectual property law (IP) has become an increasingly important and contentious field.  Applying old ideas to new inventions can lead to heated debates.

IP has always stood on shaky footing in light of claims that rights to intangible products such as ideas, or tangible products that amount to artistic or commercial creations of the mind, are legal fictions.

IP involves monopolistic privileges for inventors to incentivize inventing.  Opponents of IP argue that monopolies are inefficient, uncompetitive, exploitative, and unjust, even when granted to artists or performers.

David Opderbeck, a scholar of IP, has examined information policy, which studies the interface of information technology and government.  He argues against social constructivism as an approach to information policy and for a combination of critical realism and environmental virtue ethics.  The latter approach breaks from what he calls “modern positivism” and “postmodern skepticism,” insisting that social constructivism is itself grounded in deeper realities.

Opderbeck brings to mind Bruno Latour’s description of the vacuum pump experiment: although the conditions of the experiment are artificial or socially constructed in that they never would appear naturally, the results of the experiment are real (i.e., natural).  Social constructions are means to natural ends, but to reduce the entire experiment to social constructivism misses the point.

The same is true for information technology.  Social constructions influence the ways in which information, broadly conceived, interacts with government, just as they influence the ways in which humans interact with nature.   Read the rest of this entry »

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