Sunday, June 10, 2007

The word "free" in "free trade" just throws some people, Techdirt among them. They simply can't understand that free markets require government protection of things like contracts, agreements and, yes, intellectual property. It would be fascinating to hear how trade could go on between nations without the protection of such things.

I suppose the Techdirt types imagine everyone will just play nicely, and share.


Mike said...

Mark, you amuse me sometimes.

It's true that gov'ts have a role in free trade. We didn't deny that. What we did complain about wasn't the gov't role, but gov't *protectionism* which is the opposite of free trade.

What they're doing here is enforcing a monopoly. In what definition of free trade is "setting up a monopoly" considered part of free trade? You'll have a hard time finding such an answer, because it's not a part of free trade. It's the opposite of free trade.

Mark said...

Mike, what they're doing here is protecting American intellectual property. Your continued use of the word "protectionism" to mean something other than protecting rights, which is being done when a contract is enforced just as much as for a copyright, is unfathomable.

But, I'm not really here to debate you on these topics. I hardly think I'll convince you of anything.

Mark said...

I'm probably not clear in my previous comment. The word "protectionism" can be used generally, which is how I'm using it, as well as in certain specific economic contexts. In terms of international trade, the word typically means things like tarrifs, where one government attempts to limit imports and favor exports.

That use of the word has nothing to do with how Mike from Techdirt is using it here, which is only coincidentally in a free trade context. Mike uses it generally to describe what government does in extending monopolies via copyright and patents, and it this use that I'm referring to.

Government "protection" is required for free trade and free markets to exist. The only alternative is anarchy, or every individual's need to protect his own rights, in every transaction.