A Theory of Regulation

This story caught my eye:

Now another revolution on wheels is on the horizon: the driverless car. Nobody is sure when it will arrive. Google, which is testing a fleet of autonomous cars, thinks in maybe a decade, others reckon longer. A report from KPMG and the Centre for Automotive Research in Michigan concludes . . . → Read More: A Theory of Regulation

Dallas, Pittsburgh and what really killed the economy?

I have a very serious question…  a question that can’t really be answered of course.

What was worse for the future of Pittsburgh in the long run?  The decline of the steel industry in the 1980’s or Michael Jordan’s dismemberment of that which was known as Westinghouse in Pittsburgh?

The question obviously arises on . . . → Read More: Dallas, Pittsburgh and what really killed the economy?

The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

The central thesis of Cowen’s book is that the recent economic downturn is mostly due to the law of diminishing marginal returns.  The metaphor he uses to explain this is that of an orchard.  In any orchard, some of the hanging fruit is closer to the ground than other fruit.  The natural tendency is . . . → Read More: The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

Book Review

Tabarrok focuses on four policy areas in which changes could yield very positive results. He kicks off the short eBook by focusing first on patent reform, noting that many areas of patent coverage (software, technical processes e.g.) have low innovation costs and, as such, are not worthy of patent protection. In fact, his recommended . . . → Read More: Launching The Innovation Renaissance by Alex Tabarrok

On Patent Reform

The Smith Patent Reform Bill has become law:

President Obama today signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) a bipartisan, bicameral bill that updates our patent system to encourage innovation, job creation and economic growth. Both Houses of Congress overwhelmingly supported the proposal, which was sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman . . . → Read More: On Patent Reform

Jason Burack and Kevin Kerr: Six REE Metals to Watch

Rare earth elements have made possible improvements in everything from smart phones and plasma televisions to clean energy technology. In this exclusive interview with The Critical Metals Report, Jason Burack, independent investor and cofounder of Wall St. for Main St., and Kevin Kerr, commodities trader and president of Kerr Trading, share the names of . . . → Read More: Jason Burack and Kevin Kerr: Six REE Metals to Watch

Two Quick Questions for IP Defenders

AV Club has some exciting news:

In the rare story that ends with George Lucas not getting money, George Lucas has lost a copyright case before the British Supreme Court in which he sought to stop his former Star Wars prop designer Andrew Ainsworth, who came up with the original iconic Stormtrooper helmets, from . . . → Read More: Two Quick Questions for IP Defenders

A False Analogy

Robin Hanson makes a predictable mistake:

Similarly, the kinds of innovation activities and intellectual property rights that make sense depend on available institutions and technologies. I’m happy to admit that today intellectual property (IP) is not obviously a good idea. Such property can create large “anti-commons” transaction and enforcement costs that greatly raise . . . → Read More: A False Analogy

So Many Problems

I wouldn’t bet on Robin Hanson’s prognostications:

We are richer than our ancestors mostly because of innovation. But most of the innovation benefits we receive are externalities – we only pay our ancestors (or those to whom they transferred their property rights) for a small fraction of that benefit. If we instead had better . . . → Read More: So Many Problems

John Kaiser: $1,200 Gold is New Normal

What is good for the U.S. economy is good for gold. John Kaiser, editor of Kaiser Research Online, has proposed a graphic model that relates the value of all above-ground gold stock to global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), thereby explaining why higher real gold prices—even with a recovering American economy—will be the new . . . → Read More: John Kaiser: $1,200 Gold is New Normal