Tucker is spot-on here. Take the title: “Knowledge Is as Valuable as Physical Capital” — actually this is what IP proponents say, they say that knowledge is as important as physical goods and therefore you need property rights in ideas just as we need it in physical things. Tucker turns it on its head and say that both knowledge and capital are important and therefore the state should not attack either: it should not tax and regulate or collectivize private capital, and it should not restrict the generation and flow and use of knowledge by IP law:
“It harms prosperity and future progress to attack private capital. In the same way, it harms prosperity and future progress to restrict information flows and their uses, through whatever means: censorship or intellectual monopolies.”
See also my
- “Intellectual Freedom and Learning versus Patent and Copyright,”
- KOL062 | “Intellectual Freedom and Learning versus Patent and Copyright” (2010)
One of the greatest errors made by opponents of free economies is to disparage and attack the idea of private capital. Without capital, production is only about immediate consumption, not about building for the future. You cannot have a complex economy with advanced technology, rising wages, and many stages of production, in the absence of capital, which requires security in private property.
This is why even today you find very poor countries around the world. What has gone wrong? People are not lazy, unenterprising, uncreative, or unambitious. On the contrary, people in poor countries work harder and longer—even more creatively—than people in developed economies. What’s missing is that crucial thing: security in the cumulation of capital, intended to provide for future consumption. If you look carefully, what you find is that the state steals it (there is always some excuse) before it can be employed for social uses. [click to continue…]