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View Diary: Abbreviated pundit roundup: John Boehner's very bad day (122 comments)

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  •  The odd Marxist here and there (7+ / 0-)

    noticed the "rent seeking" tendencies of monopoly capital almost 50 years ago.

    Great to see that explained by Paul Krugman in the Times.

    •  Why go to all that trouble, bother, and risk to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matthew D Jones

      produce something when you can avoid all that with a little rent seeking?  Sort of like being a government intel contractor too.

    •  Economist Dean Baker of the Center for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, Josiah Bartlett, PsychoSavannah

      Economic and Policy Research has been beating the drum over the assignment of wealth to "patents, copyrights and other forms of intellectual property" for years.  I don't think he feels as vindicated by Krugman's epiphany as he should, considering the majority of economists still treat rentiers as though their contributions to the general economy should be valued the same as actual production.  But he has hopes that Krugman's voice, louder and more public than his, can make a difference:

      While meandering the streets of Paris, Paul Krugman apparently awakened to the fact that the assignment of claims to wealth through patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property is a really big deal. This is good news for those who have been jumping up and down yelling about this issue for the last 15 years or so.

      There is really big money in this area. Just to take my favorite one, we spend $340 billion a year on drugs, more than 2 percent of GDP ($295 billion on prescription drugs, $45 billion on non-prescription drugs). We would probably spend about one-tenth this amount in the absence of patent protection. The difference is equal to about 20 percent of after-tax corporate profits.
      So intellectual property is a really big deal in the modern economy. And what is neat about it is that these property relations are almost infinitely malleable. (Okay, all property relations are malleable, but IP seems to offer much more room.) That's the key point that we all have to understand because the bad guys want to convince us that patents and copyrights came to us from on high and that it is our obligation to enforce them in their current or strengthened form, otherwise we are dirty communists.

      It's great to see that Krugman may now be on the case. Perhaps he will be able to teach the economists a bit of economics. (Hint: an intro textbook goes far here. Large gaps between price and marginal cost are bad in trade, much larger gaps between price and marginal cost are really bad when it comes to intellectual property.)

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:56:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Krugman just got tired of writing the same column (0+ / 0-)

        all the time: how cuts in a time of recession hurt the recovery but served the interest of corp. profits.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

        by TerryDarc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:14:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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