Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Notes on the Wenzel-Kinsella Debate

Nick Badalamenti emails:

I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that you did an outstanding job on the debate. It looks from the comments on your youtube posting that an army of Kinsella supporters are coming out to bash you.

I really didn't see much for you to improve on...The ad hominem count by Kinsella on you in the first hour was atrocious....I can't blame you for teeing off finally in the 2nd hour.

I look forward to your "pamphlet" further destroying what's left of Kinsella's arguments.

Here are the  notes I took of the debate.
Kinsella doesn't want people to focus on their own IP theory instead of picking apart his....lol. Maybe he shouldn't have written on book on it if he didn't want people criticizing it.

Kinsella won't answer about the name calling/ad hominem.

Stephan comes off as hugely pompous.

Stephan admits Rothbard views are murky, opposite to statement in his book.”Long tradition of anti-IP”.

“copyright” Rothbard-pro & perpetual

copyright “Logical device of property on the free market”- Kinsella, more condescending prick...calls Rothbard “confused”...lol

Call rothbard's statement “ambiguous”. Lol....Wenzel calls Kinsella “sloppy” thinker/writer-rightfully so.

Stephan doesn't want Wenzel referring to his book in the debate! Lol

“Not a cool thinker”-ad hominem by Kinsella

“clown”-ad hominem by Kinsella

Weznel's told him several times now he's going to destroy Kinsella.

Boldrin & Levine citation, “uncontrolled arguers” accusation instead of answering the result of the study by Kinsella.

Wenzel is absolutely right about the issue of rivalry.

Kineslla equivocates rivalrous with scarcity.

“You probably dont' know about calculus.” accusation by Kinsella

Bob asks Stephan if he understands “multi variable calculus”, answer by Kinsella: “I used to.”...lol

Wenzel is right, Kinsella regularly creates a strawman out of the gov't evils surrounding IP. (SOPA, etc)

Snippy bitch? Lol...I think this is Wenzel first ad hominem on Kinsella...around 1 hour in...in his defense Kinsella was peppering him with ad hominem's for an hour before.

Kinsella says Bob was in Scientology? Lol

Bloody Mary example Kinsella is ridiculous, because Bloody Mary knowledge isn't unique. It's superabundant.

Wenzel is right, Kinsella's framework is based on a broken contract...lol

Kinsella thinks taking someone's idea against their will can be done peacefully & cooperatively...lol

Kinsella, appeal to authority via his repeated use of “ask any lawyer”. On one hand, he denounces the legal framework currently for IP...yet falls back on that very framework when attacking the notion that ideas are property.

Bob just pointed out that every time Kinsella laughs he is wrong...lmao! Brutal, it was over Galambos. He's right though, Stephan mis-characterizes others positions.

Another mis-characterization by Kinsella over a Harry Potter book...I just realized that Kinsella thinks in a box. He just called Wenzel an idiot over getting pounded.

Wow....Kinsella is bringing up nickels, kind of suggesting like Bob is a “Rainman” type. Kinsella is a friggin asshole.

Wow...Kinsella ends by creating more straw men on positions that Wenzel doesn't hold...nice.

Kinsella just basically inferred Bob isn't a “real Libertarian”.


  1. IP is an anti libertarian, anti free market, and anti private property position, therefor Wenzel is all of these things.

    Kinsella easily won this debate. Wenzel just made a fool of himself

  2. Hans-Herman Hoppe on IP and Stephan Kinsella:

    "I agree with my friend Kinsella, that the idea of intellectual property rights is not just wrong and confused but dangerous. And I have already touched upon why this is so. Ideas – recipes, formulas, statements, arguments, algorithms, theorems, melodies, patterns, rhythms, images, etc. – are certainly goods (insofar as they are good, not bad, recipes, etc.), but they are not scarce goods. Once thought and expressed, they are free, inexhaustible goods. I whistle a melody or write down a poem, you hear the melody or read the poem and reproduce or copy it. In doing so you have not taken anything away from me. I can whistle and write as before. In fact, the entire world can copy me and yet nothing is taken from me. (If I didn't want anyone to copy my ideas I only have to keep them to myself and never express them.)

    Now imagine I had been granted a property right in my melody or poem such that I could prohibit you from copying it or demanding a royalty from you if you do. First: Doesn't that imply, absurdly, that I, in turn, must pay royalties to the person (or his heirs) who invented whistling and writing, and further on to those, who invented sound-making and language, and so on? Second: In preventing you from or making you pay for whistling my melody or reciting my poem, I am actually made a (partial) owner of you: of your physical body, your vocal chords, your paper, your pencil, etc. because you did not use anything but your own property when you copied me. If you can no longer copy me, then, this means that I, the intellectual property owner, have expropriated you and your "real" property. Which shows: intellectual property rights and real property rights are incompatible, and the promotion of intellectual property must be seen as a most dangerous attack on the idea of "real" property (in scarce goods)."

    Here is the entire interview:

    1. I have a general discussion of why ideas are scarce, upcoming in a post tomorrow morning.

      I will reply to Prof. Hoppe's comments within a day or so.

    2. Why don't you focus on things more within your cognitive grasp first? Understanding Barney or Big Bird might be more reasonable goals for you right now. I'm actually being serious. All I can say is that you are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity.

    3. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    4. Mr Kinsella must thank God that Murray Rothbard isn't here any more to crush him on this.

  3. I will only comment on patents, since they are all I am personally familiar with. Patents on items cross a very broad range. Some are very simple items that require little expenditure for research while others are complex systems that undergo years of development and expense. A sad fact of the economic reality of today is that corporations don't buy ideas, they buy companies. Therefore a patent on an unproven item has little value. It is also true that many patents arent just the product of momentary inspiration but come as a result of years of life experience and education. It takes a lot of capital to bring even relatively simple products to market. Without patent protection, there is simply no incentive to undertake the endeavor. A savvy investor can simply say, "thanks for the idea" and run with it himself. At least Kinsella and Hoppe understand this when they say, "you can always keep it to yourself." Of course this runs in direct contravention to their assertion that IP stifles innovation.

    Likewise, it is not true that patents must be enabled through governmental edict. There could be private corporations that issue IP protection that is supported by industry trade associations. Companies that violated the IP protection would be declared "rogue" and would be boycotted. This being true, the assertion by Kinsella and others that IP "is not property" is a worthless argument. If the market declares that it is, what are they going to do about it? To oppose the voluntary actions of private parties in a free market is hardly "libertarian."

    1. I mostly agree with you, and I think you make some great points.

      I do, however, thing that way more patents are issued than should be. I know in the area of software, the vast majority of the patents are ridiculous and should be things that are covered by copyright instead. The U.S. Patent Office rubber stamps patents and lets companies fight it out in court, but since that's, at a minimum, a low 7-figure sum, only relatively large companies can play that game.

      Then again, just because the government screws up the implementation doesn't mean that patent protection is an invalid concept.

    2. Good points. Something like patent rights could evolve privately among trade associations or cartels of inventors in a stateless society, so long as the members believed that on balance, the rights were somehow beneficial to them. It's interesting to think about how that might develop, although I'm skeptical that such associations or cartels wouldn't be quickly broken.

      An economic effect of abolishing patents would be to shift investment into areas that can be more easily protected by trade secrets, and cause more enforcement of secrecy rights under contract law. As you note, that would pretty much leave the individual inventor lacking capital out in the cold. The purpose of patent law is to encourage publication of innovative technology in exchange for limited exclusivity to the inventor; patent law has never created a "property" right in a natural law sense.

      Undoubtedly, there would be less incentive for technology transfer without some kind of patent system. How much so, and how such lack would impact technological progress is hard to say. Much of the industrial revolution and everything since occurred under a patent regime, who knows to what extent patents played a role. My guess is a pretty significant one.

  4. I don't think you know what the term rivalrous means.

    It's pretty simple. The When C drives herts car. Herts doesn't have their car anymore. Hence-theft.

    When C overheard a and b talking about something, and using the information to implement that something, a and B still have that something. Hence, it's not rivalrous in the economic definition of the word. It's irrelevant whether the entire world knows your idea or only you do. The point is, if somebody else uses your idea -- you still have the idea. Nothing was taken from you. Hence there's no theft.

    From your conversation with Stephen, I don't think you really understand this basic premise.

  5. Bob, you got your butt handed to you. You can't even distinguish between what an economist means when he says rivalrous and what a common person means by the same term. I don't know what business you think you have calling yourself an Austrian Economist.

    You are intellectually underprivileged, and Kinsella showed it to anyone who cares to listen.

  6. Nick, I think you're confused. Rothbard pro copyright and perpetual?!? I seem to remember that Rothbard thought this was valid as part of a contract between two individuals. How's is that pro IP? If I can setup whatever conditions I want for our exchange if you agree to them then so be it. That's not the same as someone being pro IP because IP also ties any other individual who may derive an idea from seeing, reading, etc of said work and then create something that they are able to sell to the conditions agreed by the person who originally purchased said item.

    I will just finish by saying that if you and Wenzel seriously think that ideas are property you're seriously deluded. You're ideas are built on the ideas of others that you've encountered in your life. It's derivative but hardly unique. It's as though you believe that you should be compensated for your so-called original thought that you would have never had without the interactions with ideas culled and received from books, shows, discussions, et al that you've had with thousands of others in your life. If you really hold to that opinion you should consider compensating all of them for your "original" idea!

  7. Nick, The essential thing is that Wenzel tries to come up with the idea of the algorithm for getting on Drudge's site. Based on Wenzel's belief, all the ideas related to websites, how to upload information on the websites, etc would all be subject to IP and would need to be paid for. He naively believes that he has created a unique idea. He hasn't. It's built on all the other ideas used in the development of the internet. There wouldn't be an internet based on his idea of IP. It's beyond daft!!!

    As for the aspect related to scarcity, what would happen is that once he actually used it, other persons without having any relationship to Wenzel would figure out the algorithm and do the same thing as well as apply it to other sites. It's infinitely replicable and understandable by others, thus IT'S NOT A SCARCE RESOURCE!!!