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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Lessig Blasts Protectionism

I've seen Lessig speak on two occasions. He's a very intelligent man who is, for the most part, waging good battles against reactionary forces. The first time I saw him speak he was energetic and excited by the fact that he was going to help Napster defeat the crushing litigation of the recording industry. The second time I saw him speak, he looked broken and depressed and told a crowd of mostly college juniors that we should basically give up because the "Man" had won and would always win. That, of course, was after Napster's legal defeat. I'm hoping that this article is a sign that he's regained his hope for the future.

I think it's also interesting to recognize that Lessig is not an economist by trade. He's a law school professor... and even he understands how important trade and market forces are. Unfortunately, his argument here rests heavily on "the laws of Adam Smith," and most of the detractors of free trade do not understand those laws. As such, convincing them that their ideas only hurt those whom they aim to protect is usually quite difficult.


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