Comment 28242

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2009 at 00:32:10

Ryan, I believe in private property rights. I don't, however, believe this includes information. Whereas real property is subject to scarcity, ideas are infinitely reproducible and therefore cannot be stolen. Therefore, if you believe that Microsoft, Merck, or any other business which benefits from government monopolies on information, is undeserving of this wealth, I agree with you.

However, assuming that government gets out of the business of protecting ideas as it would real property, any wealth businesses can generate from selling their goods to the public should be protected from theft, from either individuals or excessive government demands (for sake of argument I will accept a 5-10% tax to the government to carry out its functions).

Therefore, if a person starts up a company, employs good management techniques, hires good people and generates excellent customer satisfaction, this person is entitled to any and all rewards that come from this. To suggest otherwise, simply because some of the information he utilized was discovered by someone else, means that nobody is entitled to anything.

However, we all know that this isn't the case. Successful businesses require much more than just knowledge, they require tenacity, vision, risk taking, physical labour, demands on time, interpersonal stress and many other things that most people find difficult to put up with. However, for those people who can suffer through the difficulties that come with dealing with suppliers, customers and all the other stresses it takes to make customers happy, their reward is above average wealth.

That being said, some people are also blessed with enormous quantities of motivation and drive that allow them to keep going where others would not. Is this simply a matter of willpower, or is it something else? I wonder about this sometimes. Therefore, I have no problem with the idea of "asking" those with great resources to share with others, who because of physical impairment, or simply because of circumstances, need a helping hand.

However, I don't like the idea that government, or any other third party, can make a claim on my hard work, simply because they can tie my efforts back to the original human thought. To me this sounds like a recipe for sloth, since most of the reason people work hard building their business, is because they want to be rewarded in proportion to how much they suffer.

Therefore, abolish intellectual property rights, allow anyone to use whatever information they can get their hands on, but otherwise let people keep what they earn.

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