Tag Archives: economics

The sky is not falling on Content Industries. And on French button manufacters neither.

Techdirt reports about the paper “Is the Sky Falling on the Content Industries?” by Mark A. Lemley of Stanford Law School.
Mark makes many example of a recurrent pattern:
1. New technology
2. Legacy settled industry freaks out saying the world is ending
3. Industry flocks to DC & the courts to demand fixing
4. Turns out that the new technology actually increases the market

The examples are:
* photographs (would destroy painting),
* musical recordings (would destroy live music),
* radio (would destroy recorded music)
* cable TV (would destroy regular TV),
* photocopier (would destroy books),
* VCR (would destroy the movie industry),
* audio cassettes (would destroy music)
* MP3 player (would destroy music),
* file sharing (would destroy music),
* DVR (would destroy TV)

There is even a

Pornographers complain of a once-lucrative market flooded by amateur pornography (see Copyright Infringements in the Porn Industry); even sex, it seems, fears it can’t compete with free. But I wouldn’t list “lack of sufficient pornography” as among our larger societal problems.

All this reminded of an old post at techdirt History Repeats Itself: How The RIAA Is Like 17th Century French Button-Makers. In short, 17th century tailors in France were beginning to make buttons out of cloth (new technology), and button makers (settled industry) start complaining. The last piece, from the book “The Worldly Philosophers” of Robert L. Heilbroner is even more astonishing

The government, indignant that an innovation should threaten a settled industry, imposes a fine on the cloth-button makers. But the wardens of the button guild are not yet satisfied. They demand the right to search people’s homes and wardrobes and fine and even arrest them on the streets if they are seen wearing these subversive goods.

In this January 2007 (!) post, Techdirt concludes, and I totally second:

Centuries from now (hopefully much, much sooner), the actions of the RIAA, MPAA and others that match those of the weavers and button-makers of 17th century France will seem just as ridiculous.

Trento is the capital of Economics from 29 May to 1 June: two Nobel prizes and much more!

It is once again time for Trento Festival of Economics!!! The fourth edition of the Festival of Economics will animate the city of Trento from 29 May to 1 June.
Economists, legal experts, entrepreneurs, managers, politicians, sociologists and journalists will come together to publicly debate a central issue for our future: how to conciliate identity and globalisation in a time of crisis.

Economists of indisputable prestige coming from the best universities in the world will help us to clarify our ideas. They include two winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics. The first to participate in the Trento Festival will be George Akerlof, who will explain how important decisions are often inspired by “animal spirits” and how these instincts represent one of the causes of the current recession, with a sudden collapse in trust, a factor which governments will undoubtedly have to take into account. The second economist, James Heckman, will help us to understand how economics and psychology are the key to understanding our identity and personality.

It is possible to follow the Festival of Economics live on the Web TV!
And if you are coming to Trento you can do it with carpooling (search for a ride or offer a ride to Trento. At the OtherEconomy square there will be also a stand of Jungo!, a dynamic carpooling system that we are testing in Trento!
Ah, and I’m going to host someone I totally don’t know via couchsurfing! So, if you are coming to Trento for the festival contact me, I probably can host you as well!
I think carpooling and couchsurfing are two good examples of an economic system that is finally going to change … for the better! Good! I see you around in Trento!

In the following a copy and paste the program of the festival. But you can also download it as a single pdf file (program).

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Festival of Economics (May 29 – June 2, 2008) in Trento

The program is very interesting! One more chance to plan some days to visit Trento!
The topic of the third edition (from 29 May to 2 June) is “Market and Democracy”. Check the program.

From festivaleconomia.it:
Paul Krugman, Lecturer in Economics and International Relations at the University of Princeton and the London School of Economics, leader writer for the “New York Times”, will reflect on how ideologies can condition the functioning of the markets; Paul Collier, Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford, will explain to us why African countries with a low income are failing to jump on the development bandwagon; Benjamin Friedman, Lecturer in Political Economics at the University of Harvard, will challenge the long tradition of thinking which suggests that economic wellbeing leads to serious moral consequences: from individualism to exploitation of the work of others and the disintegration of traditional social bonds; Luisa Diogo, currently Prime Minister of Mozambique, will illustrate her experience of government, whose efficacy has excited the interest of observers from all over the world; Egor Gaidar, Prime Minister of Russia in 1992 under Boris Yeltsin’s government and one of the first to lead Russia towards the free market, will explain the difficulties in the passage from the Soviet to the capitalist system; John Lloyd, journalist and leader writer for the “Financial Times”, will analyse the information scenario, in the face of a growing concentration of ownership of newspapers and television stations, both in Europe and in the USA.
These and many others will be joined by important figures in the Italian public debate, including among others Mario Monti, Guido Rossi, Francesco Giavazzi, Luciano Gallino, Sergio Marchionne and Piercamillo Davigo.

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