Patent Trolls Still Alive and Kicking »

Over at Techdirt, there is a good story up on how a patent troll attacked a startup and the litigation costs so distressed the startup that it was forced to sell out to another patent troll. Peter Braxton created Jump Rope Inc., and developed an app that allows users to pay a fee to...
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Shifting from Quantity to Quality in Patent Applications »

VentureBeat has published a good piece on how “innovators are now moving away from creating untargeted, mass-produced innovations that aim only to secure as many patents as possible, and they’re moving toward precise innovation centered around specific product and market needs.” The American patent system has long been suffering the consequences of the issuance of...
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Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Transformation from Poor to Prosperous »

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s legendary statesman, who died last month at the age of 91, posed a challenge to those of us who believe in political and economic freedom (and all other freedoms). His combination of authoritarianism and economic freedom, of social engineering and self-reliance, worked. The result was a society that is more...
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The “Miracle” of Kirznerian Entrepreneurship »

I learned a lot about miracles recently thanks to a penetrating sermon by pastor Mark McNees of Element3 Church, a “progressive” non-denominational church in Tallahassee. And it prompted a lot of thinking about markets and entrepreneurship, particularly entrepreneurship as conceived by Austrian economists, most notably Israel Kirzner. (Kirzner is required reading in my social...
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It’s Called Recovery, but Where’s the Beef? »

Many economists and other analysts have recognized that the recovery from the U.S. economy’s most recent contraction has been unusually weak—weaker, for example, than any other since World War II. But analysts have disagreed in characterizing the current recovery, which according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the semi-official arbiter of business-cycle chronology,...
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How Much Longer Can the U.S. Economy Bear the Burdens? »

Ordinary people, and sometimes experts as well, tend to overreact to short-term economic changes. The current economic malaise in the United States and Europe has brought forth a bevy of commentators convinced that this time the economy has taken a permanent turn for the worse. Never again, they declare, will we enjoy growing prosperity...
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The Malvinas versus Argentina »

I hope someone has the cheek to send Argentine President Cristina Kirchner a copy of the Statistical Yearbook 2014 published by the Falkland Islands Government—preferably without giving too many hints of their identity, if they want to avoid serious trouble. Regardless of what one thinks about the sovereignty issue, few documents in recent memory...
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Amazon’s “Dark Side” Is a Bright Spot for Workers and Consumers »

Jim Hightower is an old-fashioned Texas progressive, who, if memory serves, once ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of that state. He may be a great polemicist – see “The Dark Side of Amazon” – but he does not know the first thing about how markets work and how Amazon.com, like Wal-Mart, is a benefactor...
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New Study Links Patent Trolls to Decline in R&D Spending and Other Ills »

A new paper (“Patent Trolls: Evidence from Targeted Firms”) written by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Texas offers more evidence of the harm that patent trolls cause to the American economy. The data show that (1) trolls target companies flush with cash, (2) seek targets likely to settle rather than litigate, and (3)...
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Sweatshops: Misunderstood Paths Out of Poverty »

The collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza last year killed more than 1,100 workers and reignited an international movement calling for the regulation of so-called sweatshops in the developing world. Unfortunately, the activists often try to promote better working conditions the wrong way because they overlook the harm that boycotts and...
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