Congratulations, AGDers

Thanks to the Mises economics blog, more than 800 people took the final exam, but the following list is comprised of the 55 individuals who were more or less engaged in the study and passed the final with a score of 18 or better. The first six individuals listed scored a perfect 25/25 and may henceforth claim their status as Grand AGDers. Well done, everyone!

Zeno
jSinSaTx
David
NaSultainne
cyn.ical
Drifter

Euthyphro
Sarah
Don Corleone
Rantor
Sgt Gideon’s Dad
Ann CScdn$
JK
Something Feral
Rusty
DL Carrol
Scott
HG
Roundtine
Salt
Anthony
Dallas
A Wiser Man Than I
Ian
Phil Mann
Scott G
Cunning Dove
Reader
Triton
Richard
Dr. J
jimmcopp
10S
lloyd
gene L
Lurker
DanG
druidhouse
freestater
Markku
Phi
Skimmed It
Elusive Wapiti
RustyO
Hugh Jazz
Jack
NotSure
Bikerdad
Brad
RL
ROC
Mike
Amiga
Giraffe
Allen

And of course, Guest. If you took your test as Guest, that’s absolutely fine, but that’s also how your accomplishment will be recognized on the blog. I think it was a very successful study, overall, although I wasn’t nearly as involved in the discussions as I should have been. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit busy of late. I think I may have come up with a solution for that in the next study, which will begin sometime in March, but we’ll have to see. Please note that I still intend to delineate some of my specific differences with the points Rothbard made in AGD in a future post.

It’s worth noting, by the way, that the Voxiversity has officially gotten out of control. I recently received word from a reliable source that one of our intrepid AGDers actually convinced his wife to give their new boy the middle name “Rothbard”.

An Austrian perspective on IP

The Mises economics blog views intellectual property as a modern form of mercantilism:

It was thought in the middle ages that most all products required monopoly production. The salt producer would enter into an agreement with the ruler. The ruler would promises a monopoly in exchange for a share of the revenue. It was thought that this would guarantee access to a valuable commodity. How can anyone make a buck without a guarantee that his hard work would be compensated?

Well, it took time but eventually people realized that competition and markets actually do provide, as implausible as it may seem. As the centuries moved on, markets became ever freer, and we no longer believe that the king must confer a special status on any producer. They still do it, of course, but mostly for open reasons of political patronage.

And yet in this one area of “intellectual property,” all the old mercantilist myths survive. People still believe that a state grant of monopoly privilege is necessary for the market to work.

To me, the most damning point about the wrongness of intellectual property is the fact that the quality of literary and theatrical output was much higher prior to the IP era. I think Jeffrey Tucker is correct to point to historical monopolies as a means of clarifying the relevant issues, as government-protected intellectual property markets show much the same defects that monopoly theory would cause one to expect to see in any commodity market in which legal monopolies were granted.