25 September 2015

Big government vs big tech?

The Blog

Responding to Robert B. Reich's New York Times article "Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful", an antistatist writer blamed big government for the very problems Reich was suggesting the government should solve.

Writing at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) Joel Schlosberg rejected Reich's claim that the government must intervene in free markets in order to maintain them. Reich claimed that "There can’t be a market without government", which Schlosberg considers ignorant of abundant examples ranging from international trade (considering there is no world-government) to trade among individuals in the anarchic spaces of the Internet.

Also rejected by Schlosberg was the need for intellectual property as the pillar upholding innovation - by creating artificial scarcity in order to guarantee the existence of high-tech markets. Schlosberg instead advocated an alternative economy, saying "A full-fledged mutualistic economy of the digital age would instead be like the bazaars of eBay and Etsy, but for everything.".

Schlosberg concluded by pointing out that Reich contradicts himself in the New York Times op-ed, at first rejecting the way corporations aggressively use intellectual property to shut down competition (and thus innovation), and then parroting the fallacy that intellectual property is the fuel of innovation. Intellectual property, like national security and protectionism, is one of several legal constructions used by political and corporate oligarchs to slow innovation and inhibit the spread of new technologies.

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