Not What I Would Expect from the Koch Suckers at the Cato Institute

Considering their background, that of an Ayn Rand inspired think tank, I would think that their attitude toward IP, copyright and patents, would be one of absolute support, but here is an article where describes our current regime as regressive rent seeking:


All three of these critical national problems derive from the same source. We often talk about the last third of a century as an era of deregulation and the expansions of markets. And in certain areas that is certainly true. But the most important market rigidities that have been eliminated have been those that protected those from the middle class on down. In fact, the great paradox of the last third of a century is that we have actually had an explosion of regulation in this “supposedly deregulatory” era — but regulation that has the effect of redistributing, sometimes dramatically, upward.

A few examples will suffice to make the point. Intellectual property protections, especially patents and copyright, have been expanded dramatically over this period, both in time (through patent and copyright extensions for existing IP) and across space (by using trade agreements to push American IP principles into foreign law). While there is an argument that this expansion has actually reduced innovation, there is no doubt that it has allowed existing firms to use the force of law (rather than the market) to enrich themselves by reaching further into the pockets of consumers.


The article is actually fairly tepid in its conclusions, but considering that this is coming from the Cato institute, it does indicatge that the push-back against the American model of over aggressive IP protections is becoming more broadly accepted across the ideological spectrum.

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