Recent Reading: Adam Thierer, Permissionless Innovation
By Art Carden
This morning, I read Adam Thierer’s Permissionless Innovation, which you can get as a $0 PDF.
From a few discussions in which I’ve been involved regarding Uber’s attempt to enter the Birmingham market, it’s clear that the idea of a free market is pretty foreign to people: they assume the government is there and should be there to protect us from a world that is out to take advantage of us.
Alas, as computing power falls and new technologies continue to emerge, regulation won’t be able to keep up. That’s what I’ve meant in conversations when I’ve said that the regulatory framework firms like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and others in the “Sharing Economy” encounter is obsolete. Paraphrasing Thierer, technology changes exponentially while regulation changes incrementally. By the time new regulations are written to accommodate Uber, Lyft, and other firms, they will almost certainly be inappropriate for the next thing that’s coming down the pipe. The most recent Michael Munger/Russ Roberts podcast on “The Sharing Economy” is worth a(nother) listen.
It’s fashionable in higher ed to tell people to “question their assumptions.” Thierer’s book is a step toward helping people question their assumptions about the need for permission from governments when they wish to innovate.
Note: an early version of this post began as a Reddit comment.