Posts Tagged 'rotten apple'

All It Takes is One Rotten Apple

Or why the industry needs more subsidies from the Government.

Imagine a good which, if you were to sell it, the person to whom you sold it could reproduce it almost endlessly. Imagine still if those reproductions were functionally identical. Imagine further if the techniques allowing such reproduction were being constantly improved so that reproductions were becoming cheaper and easier over time. It stands to reason that such a good would never be produced in the first place. Whoever went to the trouble of producing the first of these goods would not be able to recoup their investment. You can imagine, after their first sale, the purchaser could set themselves up in competition, undercutting the original seller. Free riding in the industry for such a good would destroy it and therefore deprive the general community of the goods.

I chanced upon one of these utterly remarkable goods down at the shops the other day. The fellow selling it called it an “apple”. Apparently this little device can be reproduced using technology already owned by most people (portable devices containing a plastic shell and some soil apparently retail for a handful of dollars). Indeed, with a little initial investment this thing reproduces itself practically ad infinitum and with little or no human intervention. Moreover, the techniques for reproduction of these things are constantly being improved.

While the fellow selling this thing seemed quite oblivious to the looming problem facing the industry there is clearly a need for action. Probably the best response would be to create a legislative monopoly over reproductions of the good. What do you think? This is something which needs urgent attention if we want our children and our children’s children to have the benefit of these goods.

Please write your local legislative representative before it is too late!

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