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Happy Headlines

I can’t help but like it when the news tends to support my positions, politically and otherwise.

Iraq’s politicians want a specific US withdrawal date before they’ll agree to any Status of Forces Agreement. I applaud this! We need such an agreement for the presence of US forces in Iraq to remain legal past the end of this year. It’s nice to see that Iraq’s politicians are willing to take a hard line to protect their own sovergnity. More importantly to me, this is exactly what we’ve been claiming to have been working towards all this time: an independent Iraqi government which is willing and able to take control of its own nation. That they’re taking a hard line on this is exactly the sort of proof I’d want to see that they’re ready to take the reins.

The Tragedy of the Anticommons is a nice piece with an interesting premise:

We hear a lot about the “tragedy of the commons”: if a valuable asset (a grazing field, say) is held in common, each individual will try to exploit as much of it as possible. Villagers will send all their cows out to graze at the same time, and soon the field will be useless. When there’s no ownership, the pursuit of individual self-interest can make everyone worse off. But Heller shows that having too much ownership creates its own problems. If too many people own individual parts of a valuable asset, it’s easy to end up with gridlock, since any one person can simply veto the use of the asset. The commons leads to overuse and destruction; the anticommons leads to underuse and waste.

The point is that modern, extremely restrictive copyright and patent laws may be having effects precisely opposite their intended purpose, which is to encourage creativity and invention. This is easy to believe, but the reward for reform is even more immediate: it might decriminalize anyone with a full iPod.

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