The Food Court Economy
By Arnold Kling
In the second essay in a series, I write,
Think of the economy as a restaurant, or, better yet, as a Food Court. Behind the Food Court there is a farm, where plants and animals grow spontaneously in adequate but limited supplies…
When the Food Court economy was relatively undeveloped, there were only a few recipes. They required a lot of work to prepare, and the meals were monotonous, low in nutrition, and not very tasty. Over time, however, people discover new recipes, which add variety, efficiency, and pleasure to the Food Court. This is the process of economic growth.
The essay goes on to give an account of the emergence of capital markets. It then looks at the issue of intellectual property.
The trend as I see it is for the balance to continue to shift in most industries toward greater importance for research and testing, with relatively less importance to physical plant and equipment. In other words, I see intellectual property becoming a larger component of capital, as the economy drifts in the direction of the Food Court metaphor. As a result, intellectual property law is going to be increasingly important as we move forward.