Unlike most black markets, the black market for information is characterized by peace and stability. There is a near-perfect harmony between the supply and the demand for movies, music, songs, and other digital content that falls under the control of intellectual-property legislation.
In the market for information, we do not see the kinds of conflicts that are rampant in other black markets. There are no turf wars between gangs for the right to offer the latest pop hit or blockbuster movie; there are no robberies committed by would-be users who need the money to get their fix. The vast majority of copyright violators go about their business without harming anyone.
In fact, those who upload, host, and share illegal content are not in any significant danger at all. What sets the black market in information apart from other black markets? Why is it nonviolent?
This article was first published in March 2010 at Mises Daily.
Brian Leiter is incensed.
Mr. Leiter — famous primarily for his website containing comparative rankings of philosophy programs, as well as his blog, which covers job-related news in academic philosophy — has learned that King’s College London (KCL) is facing budget problems and must cut back on staff. In order to assess the extent of layoffs, the school will require every faculty member to interview for their current position. Leiter has kept his readers updated on the situation through his blog, and linked to the Times Higher Education‘s coverage of the event — which, in an article titled “‘Draconian’ Measure: King’s to Cut 205 Jobs,” emphasizes how the cutbacks will affect the humanities and focuses on the reaction this has set off among academics:
The recent fad of text-to-speech videos has placed its crosshairs on the unfortunate case of many young Americans who — facing a much higher unemployment rate than the nation as a whole — have turned to graduate school in record numbers. They typically do so to improve their job prospects, fulfill their intellectual fantasies, or simply escape the harsh reality of a depressed economy for another few years. It is clear that this trend cannot end happily for a large number of these students.