Tag: Economics

Chances Are that You Have No More Expertise in Economics than You Have in Astrophysics »

Although the statement is commonly attributed to Mark Twain, his friend Charles Dudley Warner was the one who said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Regardless of who said it, the statement was and remains fairly accurate. In contrast, we might observe, “Everybody complains about the economy, and a...
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How Valuable Is a Federal Grant? »

Sometimes, a federal grant is worthless. The federal government has the ability to attach enough costly provisions to its grants that the net value is less than zero. A recent case in my home town of Tallahassee illustrates this. The Tallahassee Democrat, May 21, page A1 (sorry, no link because a subscription is required)...
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Big Pharma, Trial Lawyers, and Harry Reid Kill Patent Reform »

Now that the smoke has cleared after the collapse of efforts to push patent litigation reform legislation through Congress, pundits are busy discussing just what happened. The President and members of both parties agreed that some reform was necessary. Reform legislation seemed to be a sure thing. Sources close to the negotiations on reform indicate...
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Patent Trolls and Trial Lawyers Thwart Patent Reform »

Time reports that Sen. Pat Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has pulled the patent reform legislation from the Senate’s agenda. Here is a snippet from the article: Needless to say, trial lawyers are among the groups that benefit the most from rampant patent litigation. Engine Advocacy, a non-profit group that works...
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Dining with Stalin »

“In the socialist commonwealth every economic change becomes an undertaking whose success can be neither appraised in advance nor later retrospectively determined. There is only groping in the dark. Socialism is the abolition of rational economy.” —Ludwig von Mises When I was driving to work earlier this week, I heard a fascinating story on...
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Apple and Google Announce a Ceasefire in the Patent Wars »

Time has a good story on the decision of Apple and Google to dismiss all the current IP lawsuits between the two companies. They have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. No doubt patent trolls were sorry to see the two giants redirect resources. The millions that went into...
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Piketty on Inequality »

The ultimate thesis in Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century is that the return on capital is higher than the growth in output and wages, so the owners of capital will see their wealth, and therefore, incomes, rise faster than those who earn the bulk of their incomes through labor. The distribution of...
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Piketty’s Capital: IV »

I’ve made some observations about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century already, here, here, and here, and in this post want to note the way that the twentieth-century welfare state has contributed to the inequality that Piketty has observed. Piketty observes that growing inequality is the result of the return on capital being...
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Patent Litigation Is No Laughing Matter... Or Is It? »

As pointed out in my forthcoming Independent Institute book, Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation, the American patent system is in need of an overhaul. This is no laughing matter, but Stephen Colbert, in the following, recent segment from “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central takes Amazon to task for claiming...
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Piketty’s Capital: III »

In a recent post on The Beacon I argued that what Thomas Piketty called “the first fundamental law of capitalism” in his recent book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, depicted the causal relationship between the value of capital and the return earned by capital backwards. Representing the return on capital as α, the rate...
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