Valley Girl Sez: Liberarianism Sux!

Michael Perelman michael at
Wed Aug 23 22:28:01 PDT 2000

Ian, thank you very much for your kind words about the two books. Even though you just skimmed through Transcending the Economy, he seemed to have caught the gist of it.

I haven't received many comments about the book, even though Noam Chomsky wrote the blurb -- but then he writes lots of blurbs.

Lisa & Ian Murray wrote:

> I ended up buying both Lessig and Michael Perelman's book and am
> about sixity
> pages into the latter. I think Mike's book is probably better, or
> rather more
> suited to what I am looking for: Class Warfare in the Information Age.
> So far the basic idea of the book is that information on production or
> something I call skill and knowledge, has always been the commodity that
> capital wants from labor so as to transform that information into
> production
> systems and products, or essentially steal it from the labor
> force. The advent
> of the computer and internet has essentially accelerated and extended this
> process, while reducing and depreciating the class that provides
> it. So, not
> only libertarians, but main stream political and economic communties would
> probably violently criticize the book if they read it at all.
> Chuck Grimes
> =========
> Michael P's CWIIA along with his Transcending the Economy [which I speed
> read today at UW library] point to an issue which is dear to public choice
> theorists and goes back to at least Adam Smith's Lectures on
> Jurisprudence--the phenomenon of rent seeking behavior. One could easily
> argue that all property rights are transfers accomplished under the aegis of
> the state and the appropriation of communal knowledge by the few is what
> gives the lie to any libertarian theory of market economies. The "firm" is
> just a legalized predatory structure to appropriate knowledge that emerges
> from relatively free flowing speech acts and "tacit knowledge" on the shop
> floor [or lab...]. Workers are free to contribute knowledge to lower unit
> costs via skills sharing but god forbid they use their knowledge to
> challenge the property and contractual structure that makes the
> appropriation of their knowledge "legal".
> Her/Him who controls the structure of property and contract controls the
> levers of wealth and this makes a mockery of the whole idea of reciprocity,
> merit and desert which have been around since the old testament and
> Aristotle. The no-compete clauses and other current forms of property rights
> smog has a real potential for scuttling the engine of accumulation,
> especially if cyberworkers and others wake up to an arrangement even the
> mafia envies [because the enforcement costs of the piracy are placed on the
> workers themselves]. Hence a lot of what Michael considers waste is just
> the result of workers resisting this legalized piracy as well as the fact
> that it creates systemic disincentives to create interesting "work",
> technological artifacts that would make life easier for far more people with
> less ecological and social damage [racism, paranoia, crime etc.]. At least,
> that's what I got out of the first pass at "Transcending"...The nice thing
> about Michael's books is that he lays it out with stories rather than
> econospeak.
> The good soldier Sveijk's brother,
> Ian

-- Michael Perelman Economics Department California State University Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321 E-Mail michael at

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