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Thread: Patents - Friend or foe of capitalism?

  1. #1

    Default Patents - Friend or foe of capitalism?

    Curious to see what the people think...

    The major problem with patents is simple... What if somebody else would have thought of the idea on their own? In such a case the government patent is state tyranny akin to mercantilism. The patent owner then is able to exercise undo exclusive control over the idea which results in a monopoly...and monopolies result in high prices and reduces supply.

    On the flip-side if government does not award exclusive access to an idea...and nobody else would have thought of it...then the inventor is not afforded the proportionate economic awards for his creativity and effort.

    It's a tricky issue... And quite wide-spread. You can point your finger almost anywhere in a room...on a street...wherever...and you'll probably be pointing at something that has been patented and has government approved exclusive privileges. In my estimation...your average patent clerk does not and can not have the capability of determining whether the invention is too obvious or would have been invented elsewhere. Furthermore they are under tremendous concentrated commercial pressure to approve as many patents as fast as possible... Many major monopolies and quasi-monopolies that we see strangely dominate certain sectors of the economy...actually do so in part because of their control over critical patents. So IMO it is more important to error on the extreme of not having enough patents...and ultimately the best safeguard may be do to away with patents altogether.

    Thoughts?



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  3. #2

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    Huge foe.

    Real world evidence:

    My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right, tend to be unwilling or unable to accept blame )

  4. #3

  5. #4
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    Default

    patents are a friend of capitalism.

    friend of free markets? maybe not so much.

  6. #5

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    Foe. First of all patents are worthless in most industries. Usually only the process is patentable, which is largely worthless because if somebody want to, they could just figure out another way to accomplish the same thing. If ideas were patentable, I would say thats bullshit. Nobody has more of a right to an idea than me simply because the patented it first. What matters is who markets their idea first. Thats who the real winner should be. All patents do is reduce the motivation of people to get their ideas to market as quickly as possible.

  7. #6

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    A state granted monopoly on a given product/good for a period of time. How is this a friend of the free market?

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazek View Post
    Huge foe.

    Real world evidence:

    ...
    Interesting video... As bad as it is in the fashion industry...it is MUCH worse in software. All the major applications have and/or will face serious frivolous patent lawsuits. Almost all leading application/OS'es/internet apps...succeed on the backs of numerous patents. eg There will never be another google...not because it requires such economies of scale and skilled talent...but because google owns all the best patents. You can't reinvent the wheel so you're stuck with a of these companies. Not necessarily a patent issue...but did you know Motorola with droid has to pay George Lucas licensing fees...just to use that word? It's ridiculous...and jacking up the prices of droids. Android itself it under so many patent attacks it is absolutely ridiculous...and it'll be a miracle if it survives them all.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpwi View Post
    Not necessarily a patent issue...but did you know Motorola with droid has to pay George Lucas licensing fees...just to use that word?
    yeah, I figure that isn't a patent issue at all but rather a trademark issue. Those are 2 completely seperate issues.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by specsaregood View Post
    yeah, I figure that isn't a patent issue at all but rather a trademark issue. Those are 2 completely seperate issues.
    True enough...but that needs reforming too. Originally trademarks were intended to protect identification. A very good thing...so you know that product X with Y reputation...really does have Y reputation and not reputation Z. But this has really been skewed wacky...and now it is a game of linguistic tag...that has lost it root intent. Does anybody think if you buy a droid that you will be buying a robot from Star Wars? Clearly, this is a case where trademark law has gone awry. Executed properly and on a much more literal and narrow scope than it is now...trademark law is a very good thing. eg I don't want to be buying Chinese knockoffs...

  11. #10

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpwi View Post
    True enough...but that needs reforming too. Originally trademarks were intended to protect identification. A very good thing...so you know that product X with Y reputation...really does have Y reputation and not reputation Z. But this has really been skewed wacky...and now it is a game of linguistic tag...that has lost it root intent. Does anybody think if you buy a droid that you will be buying a robot from Star Wars? Clearly, this is a case where trademark law has gone awry. Executed properly and on a much more literal and narrow scope than it is now...trademark law is a very good thing. eg I don't want to be buying Chinese knockoffs...
    I'd say much the same things about patents. I like them but its been abused. Maybe 1% of the patents awarded should actually be awarded.

  13. #12

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    The history of patents is actually quite fascinating. It turns out they weren't that widespread when the USA was founded (think Britian was the only other country that had them). The very first patent office of the US (Thomas Jefferson) actually became quite disillusioned with the process and eventually would come out against patents as seen in the following letter:

    http://www.red-bean.com/kfogel/jeffe...on-letter.html

    In the letter he gives a great example of patent silliness using a patent for a "Archimedes's screw" which he reviewed.

    Some libertarians like Harry Browne have spoken out against the concept of patents (Harry like me asked...what if somebody else would have invented it?)

    Rothbard is also famously against patents. One of his more famous papers on the subject is: 'Patents and Copyrights'

    www.ccsindia.org/lacs/7patents_copyrights.pdf

  14. #13

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    IP is horrible for humanity. An idea is not a scarce resource. Only a granted monopoly can make it such.

    Watch Stephan Kinsella (The Austrian economist go-to guy on this issue)

  15. #14

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    Of "Capitalism" as it exists today? Friend, cuz that's what they are used to.

    Of Freedom and Liberty? Foe.

    Of a Free Market and Free Enterprise? Foe.

    Of the software industry? Foe.


    Unlike scarce physical resources such as land and goods, an idea is intangible and can exist in multiple brains at the same time. Prohibiting the voluntary expression of the idea is an act of force. Period. As such, it is incompatible with a free society. And, as with all prohibitions, it is also bound to cause all sorts of unintended consequences and ridiculousness. evidence: software patent industry, pharmaceutical patent industry, cheap chinese clones, generics, patent sharks, patent lawyers, etc.

    The founders believed that copyrights and patents represented a tradeoff between individual liberty and "advancement". Personally, I believe that tradeoff is not necessary. Nevertheless they made it, and it has been strengthened, elongated, and abused every since. Very probably has stifled more innovation and progress than it has promoted.

  16. #15

    Thumbs up smart cookies! :)

    Quote Originally Posted by tttppp View Post
    Foe. First of all patents are worthless in most industries. Usually only the process is patentable, which is largely worthless because if somebody want to, they could just figure out another way to accomplish the same thing. If ideas were patentable, I would say thats bullshit. Nobody has more of a right to an idea than me simply because the patented it first. What matters is who markets their idea first. Thats who the real winner should be. All patents do is reduce the motivation of people to get their ideas to market as quickly as possible.
    this^^

    Quote Originally Posted by danda View Post
    Of "Capitalism" as it exists today? Friend, cuz that's what they are used to.

    Of Freedom and Liberty? Foe.

    Of a Free Market and Free Enterprise? Foe.

    Of the software industry? Foe.


    Unlike scarce physical resources such as land and goods, an idea is intangible and can exist in multiple brains at the same time. Prohibiting the voluntary expression of the idea is an act of force. Period. As such, it is incompatible with a free society. And, as with all prohibitions, it is also bound to cause all sorts of unintended consequences and ridiculousness. evidence: software patent industry, pharmaceutical patent industry, cheap chinese clones, generics, patent sharks, patent lawyers, etc.

    The founders believed that copyrights and patents represented a tradeoff between individual liberty and "advancement". Personally, I believe that tradeoff is not necessary. Nevertheless they made it, and it has been strengthened, elongated, and abused every since. Very probably has stifled more innovation and progress than it has promoted.
    and this^^
    Quote Originally Posted by green73 View Post
    IP is horrible for humanity. An idea is not a scarce resource. Only a granted monopoly can make it such.

    Watch Stephan Kinsella (The Austrian economist go-to guy on this issue)
    and this^^

    Last edited by heavenlyboy34; 05-07-2012 at 06:53 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul
    The government is incapable of doing what it's supposed to do. A job like the provision of security is something best left to private institutions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    This whole board is a thoughtcrime in progress.
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  17. #16

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    I'm glad to see this forum slowly coming around against the ridiculous idea of IP.
    My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right, tend to be unwilling or unable to accept blame )

  18. #17

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    Foe mostly.

    I do believe in IP somewhat however, so I don't want to be absolutist here. If you invent something, I'm all for you NOT having exclusive rights that reverse engineering can copy...BUT I am for you having the ability to sue someone putting your name or brand name on their version of your shit. Same goes for IP books or movies mostly. With books, you should be able to sell them, and one copy should be available for infinite re-cpying, PROVIDED those copies can't be re-shared and re-copied again. I wish they'd figure out how to do this already. It's like a library where the same book can be lent out to 10,000 people at once, but they themselves can't lend it out to others because it isn't theirs to lend. Same thing for movies.

    That being said, I'm not for a state doing this. I'm for a private company handling it via free market arbitration service. Also, I'm not completely concrete in how I feel about it yet. I've looked into it a lot, and it seems like their decent arguments for some very limited IP like I'm describing, but not full on patents and full on copyright.

    The main thing I want to see is that 1) you have no obligation to share your secrets or materials with anyone else, 2) you get credit for your work without being left with complaints of others who do lesser jobs under your name, and 3) that copies of copyright material only go one party removed from lawful recipoents (because that's how it works in the real world). If you give it away to someone else, or resell it, they should be able to go one party away via borrowing/file sharing...but not more. I don't care if 1,000,000,000 people get it, as long as it's only one party removed from the lawful owner.

    Someone tell me why this sucks or where there's a thread to help me argue for/against such things...
    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post

    Yes, I want to force consumers to buy trampolines, popcorn, environmental protection and national defense whether or not they really demand them. And I definitely want to outlaw all alternatives. Nobody should be allowed to compete with the state. Private security companies, private healthcare, private package delivery, private education, private disaster relief, private militias...should all be outlawed.
    ^Minimalist state socialism (minarchy) taken to its logical conclusions; communism.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProIndividual View Post
    Foe mostly.

    I do believe in IP somewhat however, so I don't want to be absolutist here. If you invent something, I'm all for you NOT having exclusive rights that reverse engineering can copy...BUT I am for you having the ability to sue someone putting your name or brand name on their version of your shit. Same goes for IP books or movies mostly. With books, you should be able to sell them, and one copy should be available for infinite re-cpying, PROVIDED those copies can't be re-shared and re-copied again. I wish they'd figure out how to do this already. It's like a library where the same book can be lent out to 10,000 people at once, but they themselves can't lend it out to others because it isn't theirs to lend. Same thing for movies.

    That being said, I'm not for a state doing this. I'm for a private company handling it via free market arbitration service. Also, I'm not completely concrete in how I feel about it yet. I've looked into it a lot, and it seems like their decent arguments for some very limited IP like I'm describing, but not full on patents and full on copyright.

    The main thing I want to see is that 1) you have no obligation to share your secrets or materials with anyone else, 2) you get credit for your work without being left with complaints of others who do lesser jobs under your name, and 3) that copies of copyright material only go one party removed from lawful recipoents (because that's how it works in the real world). If you give it away to someone else, or resell it, they should be able to go one party away via borrowing/file sharing...but not more. I don't care if 1,000,000,000 people get it, as long as it's only one party removed from the lawful owner.

    Someone tell me why this sucks or where there's a thread to help me argue for/against such things...
    That's an excellent point. That is fraud, and should be dealt with as such. When it's done in a university, for example, the consequence is some sort of academic discipline-often expulsion.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProIndividual View Post
    The main thing I want to see is that 1) you have no obligation to share your secrets or materials with anyone else, 2) you get credit for your work without being left with complaints of others who do lesser jobs under your name, and 3) that copies of copyright material only go one party removed from lawful recipoents (because that's how it works in the real world). If you give it away to someone else, or resell it, they should be able to go one party away via borrowing/file sharing...but not more. I don't care if 1,000,000,000 people get it, as long as it's only one party removed from the lawful owner. .
    This though, isn't so solid. No. 2 is already a legitimate crime-fraud. No 3 is a failure because this is actually NOT how information "moves" in the real world. When you give some information away (say a book), their ownership gives them the right to create as many copies as they desire.
    Last edited by heavenlyboy34; 05-07-2012 at 08:13 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul
    The government is incapable of doing what it's supposed to do. A job like the provision of security is something best left to private institutions.
    My music/art page is here"government is the enemy of liberty"-RP
    That which doesn't kill me has made a grave tactical error
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  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazek View Post
    I'm glad to see this forum slowly coming around against the ridiculous idea of IP.
    +a zillion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul
    The government is incapable of doing what it's supposed to do. A job like the provision of security is something best left to private institutions.
    My music/art page is here"government is the enemy of liberty"-RP
    That which doesn't kill me has made a grave tactical error
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    This whole board is a thoughtcrime in progress.
    Quote Originally Posted by danke View Post
    I carry my man purse for fashion, not function.

  21. #20

  22. #21

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    Patents in my opinion, should only apply to physical objects and real physical processes.
    Copyright should only apply to creative works, as in math equations, procedures, and functions in software should not be copyrightable or patentable, nor the output thereof, unless such output is largely the consequence of creative input, such as in the case of directing a program through the process.

    Copyright should last 20 years or less and patents the same length of time as copyrights.

    All digital programs released for sale should be required to have a means of facilitating payment for such works regardless of the source from which they are derived.

    If the government maintains that copyright is required, then those wanting copyright should be required to submit a copy of such work to the government, or else the default position is that it is not copyrighted, and public domain, the time period from such release should be no greater than 7 days to being submitted into the government archive of copyrighted works. The copyrighted works database would be required to be fully searchable by the public, and explicitly state the owner, the expiration date of the copyright, and a price to license such work in various formats. This rights system would be required to be fully automated.

    I could live with that, but todays system is a joke, and if the choice is the present system or no system I'd select no system.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonPaulIsGreat View Post
    Patents in my opinion, should only apply to physical objects and real physical processes.
    Just like the idea of a minimal government this is also a slippery slope that will eventually lead right back to where we are today.
    My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right, tend to be unwilling or unable to accept blame )

  24. #23

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    Software patents, foe, hardware patents, friend as long as it is limited to 3 years.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazek View Post
    Just like the idea of a minimal government this is also a slippery slope that will eventually lead right back to where we are today.
    As will anarchy.
    I have many friends in the libertarian movement who look down on those of us who get involved in political activity,
    he acknowledged, but "eventually, if you want to bring about changes what you have to do is participate in political
    action.
    -- Ron Paul


    "We do have some differences and our approaches will be different, but that makes him his own person. I mean why should he [Rand] be a clone and do everything and think just exactly as I have. I think it's an opportunity to be independent minded. We are about 99% the same on issues." "People Try To Drive Wedges Between Rand And Me." --Ron Paul

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=pB5JgzBVHN0

    The Property Basis of Rights

  26. #25

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    while i agree we should get rid of all electronics/software patients what about drug companies? i heard they spend millions/billions for research and development and it takes like 5-15 years to bring a new drug to market.

    while i do like the idea of some IP it should be limited to 5 years max. if your sorry ass can't capitalize on a new idea, you should not be a business man.

    also all the new patients that are being issued should not be issued. the patients are being issued so easily. when i watch the show "shark tank" and see all those "patent" it makes my blood boil.

    one example that was soo out of line, was http://www.technologyenabledclothing...icensing.shtml

    he basically owns the patent to have headphones holes in clothes.
    Rand Benedict Paul.
    Not only did he sell us out, this douche bag did it to his own father! I'm more upset him selling his father out. I don't care who i think is going to win i would never sell my father out. If his willing to sell his father out what else is for sale?

  27. #26

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    Patents protection as a means to protect a market for a SHORT TERM in order to recover R&D = FRIEND


    Patent protection that lasts for years and years, patents that exists on technology with no short term plan for development, that exist long after products have become profitable, patents that are bought and sold without intent to develop products. and patents that suppress technology which would advance the human race but risk elimination of otherwise useless, but profitable technology = FOE.

    Which type of patent protection do we have? Hrmm....

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  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by psi2941 View Post
    while i agree we should get rid of all electronics/software patients what about drug companies? i heard they spend millions/billions for research and development and it takes like 5-15 years to bring a new drug to market.
    How much of that time and money is spent jumping through regulatory hoops?
    How much of that time and money is spent maintaining the state's monopoly control over what is and is not a legal drug?
    How much of that time and money is spent imprisoning people for attempting alternatives?

    Is medicine in any way a free market in this country?
    If not, how can we look at the way things currently are in medicine and expect that to be some sort of indicator as to whether or not freedom will work?
    I don't think it makes much sense to look at an element of society which has been pretty completely poisoned by state intervention and use that as an argument in favor of more state intervention.

    If we're going to talk drug patents, we need to face the uncomfortable reality that maybe we don't need some of these drugs.
    Can't watch 30 minutes of TV without ads for drugs. Drugs to sleep, drugs to wake up, drugs to feel good about yourself, drugs to pay attention, drugs for boners.
    And there's a fricking weed that grows everywhere that can help you get through cancer, but using it lands you in a rape cage.

    This is not the market at work.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  29. #28

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    Foe all the way.

    Please take a look at this book:
    http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/genera...al/against.htm

    The author gives very thoughtful and balanced explanation on why IP slows down the progress (art and science) , increases hugely cost of doing business for everyone (huge share goes to lowers and government), and even hurts most inventors - the very group IP is claimed to protect.

    Arguments for IP that I saw in this thread and in the media over the years actually empirically don't hold water.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    That's an excellent point. That is fraud, and should be dealt with as such. When it's done in a university, for example, the consequence is some sort of academic discipline-often expulsion.


    This though, isn't so solid. No. 2 is already a legitimate crime-fraud. No 3 is a failure because this is actually NOT how information "moves" in the real world. When you give some information away (say a book), their ownership gives them the right to create as many copies as they desire.
    Here's No.3 again:

    3) that copies of copyright material only go one party removed from lawful recipoents (because that's how it works in the real world). If you give it away to someone else, or resell it, they should be able to go one party away via borrowing/file sharing...but not more. I don't care if 1,000,000,000 people get it, as long as it's only one party removed from the lawful owner. .
    So I'm a little confused...but I'm sure you can help.

    When I buy a book, I own it. I can only physically allow one person to borrow it at a time and cannot copy it (nor would I because it's time consuming). So this is a one-party removed borrow. If I give the book away, now they can also lend it out since it is theirs (if they lent it out and it was mine that would be wrong, obviously). That again, is a one party removed borrow. Online I feel that it should also be limited via some software or format or something to one party removed borrowing. I'm not saying it should be one book one borrow...I'm saying it should be I own it, and 10,000 or more people can borrow it from me for free by file sharing it. BUT they can't then file share that book themselves, as they borrowed it (albeit permanantly, essentially) and don't own it. If they want to own it, I have to surreneder my copy to them and my rights to let others borrow it, thereby changing who owns the book. They can also just buy the book. I understand this wouldn't stop file sharing, it would just slow it down, as after I seeded the book and had a copy myself, I could then change the ownership to another person who could seed it and share it, and then he could do the same, and so on. But this one party removed thing will slow the saturation process so that people who take the time to write a book can get more out of the market uyntil it's totally saturated via file sharing.

    Maybe I'm splitting hairs here...but it seems if I can buy a book and then make it free to everyone instantly, then why would anyonbe but one person buy each book. Seeing as how it takes a lot of time and effort to write a decent book, this would have two predictable results....crap books being cranked out non-stop, shorter books being cranked out non-stop, or no books being cranked out. I think the third is unlikely, as collectors will always buy books, and I know also that some new people are brought into the market by accessing free stuff they never would of paid for at first, then fall in love with it, and decide they want to pay for it. BUT, for authors to make a living I cannot see them keeping books as long as they are now or as good. Eventually books will be 50-100 pages and crap mostly...kind of like how music is getting (just saying). The songs used to be longer and musicians had more talent (this is my view anyways)...now it's 2 minute songs and the genres I've always liked are being saturated with crap so even very good DIY artists can't make a living without touring (not everyone who is great artist has a huge fan base...in fact pop music blows and is the largest fan base).

    Thanks for the help...I'm still working through my beliefs on IP, as you can see.
    Last edited by ProIndividual; 05-08-2012 at 11:33 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post

    Yes, I want to force consumers to buy trampolines, popcorn, environmental protection and national defense whether or not they really demand them. And I definitely want to outlaw all alternatives. Nobody should be allowed to compete with the state. Private security companies, private healthcare, private package delivery, private education, private disaster relief, private militias...should all be outlawed.
    ^Minimalist state socialism (minarchy) taken to its logical conclusions; communism.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by LibertyEagle View Post
    As will anarchy.
    That's why I support minimal government with voluntary funding, best of both worlds
    There is enormous inertia a tyranny of the status quo in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis actual or perceived produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable
    - Milton Friedman

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