Tag: Economics

The Economics of Offensive Trademarks »

My fellow blogger William Shughart recently gave a good critique of the Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to rescind protection of the Washington Redskins’ name. I agree with him that whether some people view a trademark as offensive should not be a criterion for determining whether it should be protected. If a large number...
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The Veterans’ Administration Has Been a Disaster Since Its Inception »

In her modern, exceptional biography of President Calvin Coolidge, Amity Shlaes (Coolidge, HarperCollins, 2013) documents the very blemished history of today’s U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), illustrating the trite, but nevertheless very true old saw that the more things change the more they remain the same. That department of the federal government, now...
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Patent Troll Hit with Legal Fees »

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good post up on how the patent troll Lumen View just got hit with a fee award in federal court. This is in part because of recent Supreme Court decisions making it easier for defendants to collect attorney’s fees when they win patent suits. The troll’s patent was but a description...
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Piketty and Emerging Markets »

Much has been said to refute Thomas Piketty’s important book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, from the perspective of developed countries, but not from the standpoint of emerging markets. His contention that the rate of return of capital, roughly twice the rate of growth of the economy, leads to increasing inequality is not consistent with...
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Virginia DMV and Taxi Unions versus Consumers »

“Competition always has been, and always will be, disagreeable to those who are affected by it. Thus we see that in all times and in all places men try to get rid of it.” —Frédéric Bastiat Last week, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sent cease-and-desist letters to app-based, ride-sharing services Uber and...
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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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