Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Open Book Publisher

There is a lot of talk in academic circles about open publishing models - but mostly for journals. However efforts are underway for books as well: Openbook publishers has been taking the lead in this - they are the publishers of my recent book Is Behavioral Economic Doomed. They publish under a creative commons license that allows free reproduction and modification - yet we still think we can cover the costs and even make a buck or two.

There is a nice article about them here.


Thanks for the great book, and for making it free culture.

It's worth mentioning that they don't publish most of their works under a licence that allows modification - your book is a rare exception to their preferred CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Great work! Here's my quick review of the book:

It seems to me that behavioral economists generally set up a straw man for traditional economics. Their straw man says that monetary rewards are the only valid rewards and that everyone cares about money only. Behavioral economists then go on to show the myriad ways that people have other concerns besides money or treat money in complex ways that isn't purely about maximizing their finances.

Traditional economics sets up a straw man of behavioral economics too. Your book seems to paint behavioral economics as people who say that all these complex behaviors are senseless, the behavioral straw man attacks people and shows how bad their decisions are. But I don't think real behavioral economists are quite so extreme really.

The reality seems to be that there is much to agree about.Traditional economics can explain most behavior if we accept that motives and utility are quite varied and relate to all sorts of biological reward mechanisms that are not limited to money. Traditional economics via game theory can show that much of the "irrational" behavior psychologists observe can make perfect sense if we consider the context the right way.

Unfortunately, relying on lab tests in which subjects are expected to learn the rules of a game doesn't answer one big thing about reality: the fact that lots of people have NOT learned the rules of the game. A lot of the irrationality out there seems to be people not understanding the game rules well. And some aspects of our economy are built on people having a poor understanding of the rules and so being manipulated by sales tactics and all sorts of biases.

I think we can reconcile all of this by accepting the influences of evolutionary traits, learning, and complex motives. Any traditional economist who accepts those can continue to develop worthwhile theories within the bounds of traditional economics. And behavioral economists would do well to invite these insights. I don't think behavioral economics is doomed. Rather, I think it has helped traditional economics clarify its views in order to remain relevant. And hopefully we can proceed by learning to get along and value everyone's insights.

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