Save the Whales! Abolish Patents!

Well, actually it likely wouldn’t save the whales. But, abolishing patents would likely re-invigorate the economy, revive competition, lower costs (particularly healthcare costs), and speed up innovation.

Levine and Boldrin help lay out the case against patents in this piece.  An excerpt ( I recommend following the link):

Abolishing so-called intellectual “property” (IP) won’t solve all social ills — and it certainly won’t save the whales. But it would be a big step in the right direction for solving a range of problems from the high cost of health care, to innovating our way out of the current recession. In a series of posts with my co-author Michele Boldrin, we’ll tackle these issues one at a time.


With the exception of Japan, the rest of the world spends only about 60-70% of what we spend for prescription drugs. The European countries’ average is 60%, with some countries at around 55%.That means that simply paying what the rest of the world pays would reduce our health care bill by at least 4% – that is about 0.7% of national GDP, or roughly $100 billion.

via David K. Levine: Save the Whales! Abolish Patents!.

Also, it’s worthwhile to go to their blog at

Keynes Was Really A Conservative, Not a Socialist

Bruce Bartlett sets the history straight.  Contrary to today’s populist political rhetoric from right-wing, so-called conservative politicians, Keynes, and Keynesian economics is anything BUT socialist.  In fact, Keynes sought to save free-market, private-property capitalism from itself.   Follow the link for the complete story.  Here’s an excerpt:

Those on the right have been making this same argument ever since British economist John Maynard Keynes popularized the idea of using budget deficits to stimulate growth in his 1936 book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. For this reason, Keynes, even more so than Karl Marx, is the principal bête noire of free market economists. They believe governments should never do anything to counteract economic downturns. Consequently, they must implicitly believe that all recessions are the result of massive and simultaneous failures by private businesses and workers who must therefore bear all the costs of adjustment. By opposing government intervention, free market economists are saying that it either made no mistakes or should do nothing to fix those it may have made.

What Keynes understood is that governments bear primary responsibility for recessions. In really severe downturns, such as we suffered in the 1930s and are suffering today, government action is essential to turn the economy around; the private sector simply can’t do it on its own. He also understood that democratic societies cannot long tolerate high levels of unemployment. At some point, people will jettison capitalism for some sort of socialism, which would threaten democracy as well.

via Keynes Was Really A Conservative –

Why We Really Need to End the Empire: “We Can’t Cut Spending –”

Bruce Bartlett explains why a “balanced budget” for the US federal government is an impossibility.  Unfortunately, most people who strenously object to the deficit and want a balanced budget simply don’t understand the realities.  They often confuse “millions” and “billions” (it takes 1000 millions to equal a billion).  They further operate from greatly distorted ideas of just where the actual federal spending goes.

Domestic discretionary spending amounted to $485 billion last year. With a deficit last year of $459 billion, we would have had to abolish virtually every single domestic program to have achieved budget balance. That means every penny spent on housing, education, agriculture, highway construction and maintenance, border patrols, air traffic control, the FBI, and every other thing one can think of outside of national defense, Social Security and Medicare.

via We Can’t Cut Spending –