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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dangerous Precedent: Patenting Cool

Apple vs. Samsung proves that we don't have anywhere close to a free market economy.   We have an economy that has a lot of the negative elements of one: greed and corruption, and an economy that has taken away the ability to have the positive elements: namely, competition.

When you can patent a look, a feel, a size dimension... it erodes competition.   You are eliminating the rights of companies to learn and imitate, which in reality is a much more powerful force than to innovate.   Innovations are a once in a generation find most of the time.   And the catalyst for them are usually not monetary gain - but passion.  Jobs and Wozniak innovated because they were passionate.  Imitation allows companies to learn from each other, and to pass that learning on the customers in the form of lower prices.   Imitation is not just a sufficient condition for competition, it is a necessary one.   When the system takes even the most basic form of imitation away from companies, it takes away the positive power of markets.

If you own Apple stock, you should be happy, but if you own stock in the American dream, you should be very afraid.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reason over Vitriol

If we truly believe that business institutions are not 'people', then we shouldn't be attacking them for their leader's beliefs.  And if you do believe businesses should be treated like coherent organisms, why stab the heart if it's the head that hurts.

If they break the law or there is evidence of systematic actual job discrimination or customer discrimination / abuse, then that's a different story.   But what we have here is a misdirected attack on an independently operated chain.

And as for the whole Chick-fil-a supports killings gays argument, which seems to be the strongest argument for all the hateful words on this issue, it again is misdirected and has so many degrees of separation that it's nonsensical.

Chick-fil-a leaders decide to provide some profit to a separate non-profit arm WinShape.  WinShape then takes some of its money and donates to the Family Research Council.  FRC then takes some of its money and lobbies the US congress not to denounce Uganda's 'kill the gay' bill - no money is actually directly supporting Uganda's bill - it's being used to not support US denouncement of the bill.  If you even believe that's what the FRC's goal was in the first place....

That is a lot farther and a lot different than "Chick-fil-a supports killing gays."