Monday, September 23, 2002

Matthew Yglesias pointed to a really good blog entry by Mark A. R. Kleiman about the pharmaceutical industry, why it works the way it does, what the flaws are, and what the difference is between violation of a copyright or patent and good ol' fashioned theft. (He even brings out a neat term for it: "non-rival consumption", which sounds like SKO buffet.)

What really grabbed me, though, was this line about alternate systems: "the fact that there’s no perfect system doesn’t mean that the one we now have in place is the least bad that could be developed." This particular idea is something that would seem obvious and does when it's stated, but there's an awful lot of situations where it's clearly ignored in debate, discussion, and just simply what kind of assumptions people make.

Too often people will respond to critiques by saying "well, it's not perfect, but what is?" There's your answer, right there. Thank Mr. Kleiman for it.

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