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July 13, 2007



You may call it a "knockout" for Don, but the fact of the matter is that your own points aren't consistent with Don's. You seem to be saying that industrial policy could be effective only in the event that a developing state's institutions were sufficiently competent to implement such a policy effectively. Okay, but that's quite different than what Boudreux said. Boudreux doesn't equivocate. For him, industrial policy is bad, period. Free trade is "practically superior to any form of protectionism if the goal is widespread prosperity," he says.

Boudreux doesn't address the question of what distinguishes developing economies from developed ones (and thus what might justify different policy mixes between them). Thus, it strikes me as awfully silly to suggest that Boudreaux is delivering a "knockout" blow here.

Laurent GUERBY

Dan Boutreau of "Cafe Hayek" is incoherent when he portrays himself as "free trader".


He supports intellectual property, in the most extended version of it (everything under the sun is patentable, infinite copyrights, free speech losing against trademarks, etc...).

There is no free market and extraordinary protectionism if there is intellectual property.

Thats's simple.

But there's even better, he is running a blog under the name of "Hayek".

Here is what Hayek said about intellectual property:

""" Just to illustrate how great out ignorance of the optimum forms of delimitation of various rights remains - despite our confidence in the indispensability of the general institution of several property - a few remarks about one particuilar form of property may be made. [...]

The difference between these and other kinds of property rights is this: while ownership of material goods guides the user of scarce means to their most important uses, in the case of immaterial goods such as literary productions and technological inventions the ability to produce them is also limited, yet once they have come into existence, they can be indefinitely multiplied and can be made scarce only by law in order to create an inducement to produce such ideas. Yet it is not obvious that such forced scarcity is the most effective way to stimulate the human creative process. I doubt whether there exists a single great work of literature which we would not possess had the author been unable to obtain an exclusive copyright for it; it seems to me that the case for copyright must rest almost entirely on the circumstance that such exceedingly useful works as encyclopaedias, dictionaries, textbooks and other works of reference could not be produced if, once they existed, they could freely be reproduced.

Similarly, recurrent re-examinations of the problem have not demonstrated that the obtainability of patents of invention actually enhances the flow of new technical knowledge rather than leading to wasteful concentration of research on problems whose solution in the near future can be foreseen and where, in consequence of the law, anyone who hits upon a solution a moment before the next gains the right to its exclusive use for a prolonged period.

The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, 1988 (p. 35) Friedrich von Hayek"""

He of course never answered my comments on his blog about his intellectual property.

And now he champions free trade again.

Here is what he wrote in 2005:


"[...] Jim DeLong has this very nice discussion of this matter, in the context of intellectual property, published at Tech Central Station. [...]"

Here is the first paragraph of the "nice discussion" according to Don Boutreau :

"The current hysterical assault on industries that deal in intellectual property, primarily pharmaceuticals and entertainment, seems utterly baffling. These industries spew out extraordinary floods of worthy things: life-saving, life-enhancing drugs; breathtaking movies; music for every possible taste. And both are bitterly demonized, as if they cheat us by asking that money be paid in return for their wares. [...]"

Per Kurowski

While I perfectly agree that we should accept the creation of intellectual property rights and that we as a society should invest good money defending and enforcing those rights I cannot understand why in the same vein we should not have the right to also place some limits on the exploitation of those rights.


....hang on....what's happened here. Rodrik is rising off the floor. He's looking groggy. He lines up a hay-maker. It's a mighty left - China thought experiment - hook. He swings, he connects, but...what's this!!!!

He's hit the referee. And now it's Delong who's KO-ed on the floor.


Or in other words - Mr Rodrik has a pretty convincing update on his original blog post

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