“What… is… that?!”That’s what one colleague asked when she saw this on my desk…My face, according to 3-D printing“My face,” I said. “What does it look like?”“Uh…”OK, sure. It’s a rough depiction. Eh. It’s pretty choppy…And, as you can see, the glasses didn’t really take well… making for an eerie sunken eye look.Didn’t really turn […]
Bitcoin has been pretty quiet lately. But that doesn’t mean big things aren’t taking place behind-the-scenes for the digital currency. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell pulls back the curtain and shows you how Bitcoin is quietly slipping into the mainstream. He also shows you why now could be the time to buy now, or forever hold your peace. Read on…
In an odd mix of fate, protesters and corporations are holding hands. They both have one common goal: save the Internet from the evil cable companies. We all have a common hate for them. But what if the cable companies aren’t as evil as once thought? What if there’s an even bigger evil lurking behind them? There is. Read on…
Want to get rich? Don’t listen to financial “gurus,” says Chris Campbell. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris shares a Zen proverb and shows how understanding it is the only real way to get rich (and live a rich life). Read on…
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, you’ll learn about one FREE website that has the potential to not only keep your family safe – but also open your eyes to what’s happening in your own neighborhood. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
All over the world, power is dying. The dictators and tyrants of the world are no longer able to wield it like they once used to. And they’re losing it to the “little guy.” Chris Campbell shows you how to be the king of your castle by taking advantage of this fact. Today, you’ll learn how to grab “power gaps” in the market and channel them into your product idea or project. Read on…
Chris Campbell got more than he bargained for during Sunday brunch. In a packed restaurant, he learned about a hidden sex boom that’s taking the world by storm. You won’t believe how much money ordinary Americans are making in this boom. It’s so much…you may even consider cashing in yourself.
Hundreds of pictures of nude celebrities were leaked onto the Internet last week. The mainstream is blaming twenty-something hackers, but according to Chris Campbell, everyone must’ve already forgotten what we learned about the NSA only a year ago. Read on…
The fireflies along the tidal rivers of Malaysia show "feats of synchrony that occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order." Chris Campbell tells you where else this might occur in the world. Also, new technology may revolutionize the agriculture industry and what we think of as a farm.
Jeff Davis is running for Governor in Hawaii and has an interesting campaign strategy. Also, what motivates hackers is revealed and the findings might surprise you. Finally, Ferguson is discussed in a new light. Chris Campbell has more...
When the government pumps trillions of dollars into the economy, they’re not actually printing the money. It enters as digital entries in banks across the country. It’s made the system fast, responsive, and, unfortunately, vulnerable. Now our money is no longer something we hold in our hands, but something that exists on a very susceptible network.
When’s the best time to invest in something? When everyone else is trying to get their money out of it. It might go against conventional thinking, but following the crowd usually makes you miss the real opportunities. At one monetary metal conference recently, the smartest guys in the industry sat down to discuss where these real hidden gems lay.
Say goodbye to your boring morning commute. New technologies are changing the way people drive their cars. It’s making them safer, more fuel efficient, and could reshape the way America builds its roads and cities. The only thing that could stand in the way...
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”There was […]
Remember that correction we’ve been quietly talking about over the past couple of months?Well, it might be right around the corner. Stocks waited until the last day of the month to nose-dive. The S&P 500 posted its first 2% down day since April — and the Dow wasn’t far behind. Early this morning, futures continue […]
I was talking with one of my colleagues the other day, and he raised a very interesting question, one that deserves consideration by anyone worried about their digital privacy. He read an article that championed the idea that the more steps one took to protect their privacy by using anonymous Web-browsing tools like Tor, the […]
Health care costs in the U.S. have been rising so steadily for so long that containment barely seems possible. Even optimists don’t dream of cutting the price tag. As its official name — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — suggests, Obamacare aims for affordability, not radical reduction.But at a time when we’re all […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
I want to share some insight and give you a front-row seat to America’s next big shale play.Let’s get to it…Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has turned the ship around, quite literally.We’ve gone from a country that was expecting to import massive amounts of oil and gas — to a country that’s sitting […]
Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5% annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal […]
What if I told you that the march of human progress could be traced in a direct line from the Epicureans of Ancient Greece… through the 18th Century’s cure for smallpox… to where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates found inspiration as scrappy teenagers… to the flying car of tomorrow?Stay with me and I’ll show you […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
Innovation can change the world… if the world lets it. Unfortunately, society’s gatekeepers make it a point to constrain, regulate, and control these ideas. But their power is limited, and the power of innovation is too great. Unfortunately for regulators, there are some technologies they can’t control.
Google bought YouTube in 2006 at the height of the infringement hysteria. The new owners got busy trying to get the platform up to legal standards and avoid billions in pending lawsuits. It seems that users had been posting a vast amount of copyrighted material, and Google was going to be held liable.
Over the next three years, the takedowns happened furiously. Users were having content deleted. Short films that used copyrighted background music found that their videos were silenced. Tributes to popular artists that used their songs went dark. Even videos of people dancing to a tune on their radio were torn down.
This was not fun for anyone. The artists didn’t like it. They are mostly flattered by tributes and happy to get their music out there. The copyright owners didn’t really benefit from it either. They get no new revenue through takedowns.
Google didn’t like it because of all the expense of creating bots to crawl the site. It was also embarrassing when the bots would take down a video of child’s party because the kids were singing “Happy Birthday.” For consumers and users, to have your video removed is an unforgivable insult.
No one really benefited from this system. And it was becoming more difficult to manage every day as uploads grew and grew (48 hours of new video appear every minute). But it continued, nonetheless. The presumption that copyrighted music cannot be posted on YouTube was built into the system.
No one really liked the way the system was working itself out. But it was hard to figure out another way. This is the system the law built. Surely, the law must prevail regardless of how absurd the results are. It was like the scenes in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible: No one in Salem really believed in the practice of killing witches, but people went along with the slaughter because that’s how the system worked.
Clearly, the law had set up an untenable situation. It created a system too costly for everyone. It was unsustainable. But what would change it and how? This is where the creative forces of the market economy came to the rescue.
Google worked out a new system of placing ads before videos and at the bottom of videos. Many of these ads are incredibly interesting, by the way, and not annoying to users, as they might be. (The whole institution of YouTube ads deserves an article of its own.)
Further, Google worked out a deal with users and copyright owners. If a given video infringed, the owner would be notified and would then get a choice to either order a takedown or have an ad put up on the video from which the owner would derive the revenue. Most everyone took the revenue solution, simply because it is more advantageous to the owner to gain than to slap the uploader around using the law.
What the owners have learned in the process is something that has been obvious to many of us for a long time but, for some crazy reason, was often lost on the enforcers. They learned that what looks like a violation of the law and infringement on property rights can be re-rendered as a form of peaceful advertising. Business enterprises have no greater enemy than obscurity and no greater friend than attentive people who might turn into customers.
Today, YouTube hosts vast quantities of material that, two years ago, was considered to be pirated and illegal. It is all there serving hundreds of millions of users who don’t pay a dime to get to it. It is doing what Napster did at the turn of the century, before it was destroyed by the government. But this free access is funded through peaceful forms of advertising. What the law had turned into a war of all against all the market converted to a system of peace and plenty for everyone.
This is an absolutely brilliant solution and a fantastic example of how the market is capable of providing peaceful solutions to problems that the law would otherwise handle with coercive brutality. The market solution here is “breaking bad” in the sense that it is an open rejection of everything the state is trying to stop. But because the costs of the coercive approach grew too high, the market found another way. War is expensive.
Prosperity requires peace. The state wanted war but the market said no. It would be far better if the regulations and monopoly protections were repealed and the market itself charged with the task of hammering out commercial models of distribution in absence of intervention. But rather than waiting for the law to change, the private sector found a way around the law.
This solution is changing the ethos of music distribution. When the South Korean singer/rapper PSY came out with his “Gangnam Style” video and song this fall, it went viral beyond anyone’s expectations. It is poised to become the first YouTube video to receive 1 billion views, and it has happened in a very short period of time.
PSY (Park Jae-sang) is an artist who had previously languished in obscurity for a decade. He knew the value of exposure. When his song began to be pirated, when restaurants opened with the name Gangnam Style, when T-shirts and products began to appear all over, he absolutely refused to enforce his intellectual property. He very cleverly saw that sharing can only be good for him. And sure enough, he is estimated to be raking in $8.1 million this year from iTunes downloads, concert tickets, and advertising alone. Thanks to his refusal to participate in the state’s system, he has become of the world’s most famous musicians, and he will soon be one of the richest too.
Let’s reflect on the lessons here. In our time, the state’s regulatory apparatus, not just in intellectual property, but in every area of life, has set up an untenable situation for nearly everyone. Even those who imagined that they would benefit from it are not doing so to the extent they believed. That is because the march of history does not stop in the face of even the largest attempts at enforcement. The market will prevail — which is just another way of saying that human action will prevail over the coercive machinery of the government — in the long run.
We are seeing this is every area of life. The state’s drug laws are under serious pressure from public revolt against horrible waves of imprisonment for actions that most people don’t consider serious crimes (like smoking pot). The war on terror has everyone exhausted and drifting toward noncompliance. The public school monopoly is slowing eroding due to the forces of home schooling, online learning, and creative market alternatives.
Even banking is undergoing an upheaval, despite the Fed’s and the Treasury’s attempts to monopolize the system. The new currency Bitcoin is growing and flourishing, despite every attempt to call it a fake and a fraud. New payment systems are popping up every day in the form of gift cards and instant charge cards that you can fill with cash. Digital applications are enabling new ways of lending and borrowing that completely bypass the official state system.
Folks, if you want to see how the state collapses in the future, this is the direction to look. It won’t happen through politics. It won’t happen by top-down reform. It won’t happen even through seminars. It will happen through the trial and error of entrepreneurship, because the market will not sit still. Faced with the ghastly costs of the anachronistic nation-state, it will continue to find creative and surprising ways around the coercive apparatus, effectively inventing new realms of freedom that permit progress to occur.
Every act of entrepreneurship is revolutionary and rooted in the anarchist spirit. It strikes at the heart of the status quo. It dares to be dissatisfied with what is. It imagines something new and better. It brings about unexpected, unapproved, and progressive change by adding a new dimension of experience to how we understand ourselves and how we interact with others.
Without entrepreneurship, history would lack forward motion, our understanding of the uniqueness of our time in this world would be forever undefined, and society itself would atrophy and finally die. With it, every attempt to control and freeze the world faces opposition and long-run failure.
History teaches that those who dare stand in the way of human progress will eventually be run over. Yes, there is plenty of friction and too many victims as we get from here to there. But we will get there, one creative act of disobedience at a time.