In yesterday’s Cato Unbound lefty economist Dean Baker sees the possibility for common ground between libertarians and progressive in fighting corporatism, but doesn’t yet see libertarians making good on their part of the deal. While making largely sensible case against the status quo system of patents and copyrights, Baker writes:
The extraordinary abuses that we see every day as a result of patent protection for prescription drugs and copyright protection should be sending libertarians through the roof, and perhaps it does. But, where are the libertarians’ research programs on alternatives to patents for financing drug research or alternatives to copyrights for financing creative and artistic work? (I couldn’t find either program on Cato’s website.)
I’m not raising these issues as debating points. I absolutely believe that copyrights and patent monopolies for prescription drugs are extremely pernicious forms of government intervention into the market. I can’t understand why any serious libertarian would not be as bothered as I am.
Well, I am as bothered as Baker is. And over at Cato@Liberty, Tim Lee brings Baker up to date on some of his and Cato’s work on IP. Tim has a few disagreements with Baker about the best government framework for encouraging innovation, but the extent of overall agreement really is pretty impressive, and promising.