Arnold Kling

Information Does not Want to be Free

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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I say that information wants to be free, but people need to get paid. The writer of a blog called Objectionable Content writes in a long post called "The Net Ecology" that

Information won't be free for two reasons.
  1. Need is fungible -- scarcity in other areas means that producers of information still need to engage in trade in order to survive
  2. The scarcity of the new -- scarcity will continue to obtain in information products not yet produced Let's start with the second point.

His point is that people need to get paid in order to create the first copy of an information product. This means that the need for trade and markets is not going away.

Discussion Question. Are markets still appropriate if the cost of maintaining a market is higher than the cost of providing the actual good or service, an issue raised in Asymptotically Free Goods?

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