Monday, March 21, 2011

The new Review of Austrian Economics is out

The last article is open access.

A Symposium on Pluralism and Austrian Economics

Examining social processes with agent-based models
Chad W. Seagren

Illustrating the importance of Austrian business cycle theory: A reply to Murphy, Barnett, and Block; A call for quantitative study
Andrew T. Young

Why should Austrian economists be pluralists?
Robert F. Garnett

Against representative agent methodology
Roger Koppl

Pluralism and heterodoxy in economic methodology
Randall G. Holcombe

Cultivating constructive discourse over economics and public policy
Peter Boettke

Specialists and citizens all: A reply to Boettke, Koppl, and Holcombe
Robert F. Garnett

Review of Russell Hardin, How do you know? The economics of ordinary knowledge
Princeton University Press, 2009, 240 pages
Samuli Leppälä

Open Access: A critical review of against intellectual monopoly
John Kennedy


  1. I feel disenchanted with Austrian economics. That is all.

  2. About that intellectual monopoly article, I remember those days when I was a fierce defender of intellectual property.

    I used to rage at my friends who pirated videogames. I used to explain to them, "You don't own it! You own only a physical disk. The game belongs to the makers. You are a mere licensee."

    And the same old response: "It's nothing wrong. It's sharing something without denying its use to anybody else."

    I was emotionally invested in this anger, because I saw too many of my favourite videogame studios go to the dogs, because of lack of sales.

    Now...I don't feel as strongly about it. Partly because I understood creative destruction. And partly because I understood that the market would find ways to sell games without having to worry about piracy. And it did. Steam,.etc really changed the way the whole thing worked.

  3. Prateek,

    I think it's fair to say that many of us have had similar musings as well regarding digital piracy. Of course, invocation of this doesn't support the theoretical basis for dismantling IP... Just as bottle stores selling liquor to minors doesn't justify repealing laws to that affect.

    That hints to something I find troubling about the Austrian anti-IP agenda... Their stance as regards "abnormal" profits from IP seems completely arbitrary to me when it comes to innovation breakthroughs that may be difficult to decode. i.e. You can't "force" anyone to reveal what their trade secret is (e.g. the Google algorithm), but no holds bar on backwards engineering where it is possible (e.g. the Boulton-Watt steam engine). If you genuinely believe that IP is that detrimental to society, why allow anyone to keep their trade secret on the arbitrary basis that other's cannot deconstruct it? (Not sure I've phrased this particularly well, but hopefully my meaning is still apparent...)

    As an aside, my father is an agronomist and his industry is significantly underpinned by IP issues (the role of generic herbicides, etc). Now, "loathe" might be too strong a word, but let's just say that he feels very little love for "the big US corporations" (his words) that he has worked for over several decades. Very little feelings then, for the way that they put profit ahead of people or loyalty (again, his words). Still, you ask him whether he thinks dismantling IP in his industry would be a good thing, and he would tell you that you're crazy. It simply wouldn't stand up to the tremendous R&D costs that go into manufacturing new types of herbicides, crop technology and so forth. Anecdotal evidence may only count so much, but thought I'd mention this all the same...

    PS - Whoever's doing the proof-reading for the RoAE needs to up their game. I spotted several typos just in that short IP review. Pedantic, I know, but not ideal for a journal that wants (admirably) to increase its profile within the profession.

  4. Lee,

    Care to elaborate a bit for the rest of us?


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