Freeman

October 2009

Volume 59, 2009

FEATURES

How "Intellectual Property" Impedes Competition

SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 by KEVIN A. CARSON

Intellectual property creates artificial scarcity where it does not naturally exist and can only be enforced by invading real, tangible property and preventing the owner from using it in ways that violate the supposed intellectual property rights of others.

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For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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