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Robert Romero

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About Robert Romero

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  1. The originator determines the value of an idea to himself. He does not determine its value to others. Each man decides for himself how valuable something is. The originator is only sharing the idea, not the value. Labor and time have no value; only the product of that time and labor has value. I could have spent lots of time laboring to be as good at basketball as Michael Jordan, or as good a pianist as Vladimir Horowitz. It would have produced nothing of value. I could have (and did) produce something else of value with my labor and time. When your supervisor asks you to produce a report, you don’t tell him later “I worked hard x number of hours”. You tell him “here’s the report”. The Roosevelt administration ignored this principle when it paid farmers to destroy crops, when it paid artists to do nothing productive. This is not true. I used the earlier example of the first guy to build a log cabin. Do his neighbors need his consent to obtain the idea of a log cabin by peacefully observing him? Of course not. What’s he going to do, forcibly blindfold them and plug their ears before he starts? No advocate of individual rights would tolerate such a thing. The same thing applies to steam engines, biotech, software, etc. ad infinitum. Galt's speech says intelligence cannot be forced to work. IP says intelligence can be forced NOT to work. Once people have an idea in their minds, who is one man to tell them what they can do on their own property, with their own time, with their own labor? He already HAS the product of his labor and time, to do with as he wishes. He is free to share that product on his terms, by trade and by volitional consent. However, he has NO property right to the value of his idea. As I said, each man determines for himself how valuable something is. The value cannot be dictated by anyone, including the creator.
  2. The fact is that steam engines improved very little during the period when the Watt patent was in effect. Once it expired, efficiency and production exploded. The causal link is obvious. People were free to innovate without being inhibited by a patent. They were also free to produce when they were no longer told they couldn’t. The almost sixfold increase in engine production was hardly due solely to Watt having increased capital. I have shown evidence that the biotech and software industries were very innovative prior to the introduction of patents, and that the introduction of them did nothing to spur innovation. This demolishes the argument that patents are “needed” for innovation to take place. I’ll also repeat my previous citation of a research paper which found this: And this: This demonstrates that patents not only are NOT needed for innovation, they actually discourage it. The kind of deontological perspective that says "I don't care if things are better without IP, I still support it" seems more Kantian than Objectivist to me.
  3. An inherent characteristic of LFC is free market entry. Laws that prohibit market entry by competitors are fundamentally anti LFC. Uniqueness has nothing to do with the loss of use of something if someone else uses it. That's the crucial distinction between the beach house and an idea. A can't use his beach house if B is using it. If B could make a copy of A's beach house simply by having knowledge of it, then B could use the copy without infringing on A's use of his beach house. The same applies to ideas. Why would A need to be punished for withholding his idea? He's no under obligation to share it. However, once the idea is in other people's minds, he cannot take the property of others simply because others use the idea. An analogy would be someone with an oxygen cylinder. The owner of the cylinder is under no obligation to share the cylinder with anyone. However, if the cylinder leaks, and the oxygen escapes into the atmosphere, it would be absurd for him to demand that no one in the vicinity use "his" oxygen. Your statement that disputes were settled via “arbitration” sidesteps the fact that Watt’s competitors were forced to respond to the court orders. Such orders are enforced by the threat of violence. So yes, the competitors were indeed forced to deal with Watt at the point of a gun. The fact is that Watt made more money, steam engines improved, and they became more available after his patent expired. It defies reason to say that was a bad thing.
  4. I stand corrected that no one ever addressed it before. But my point stands--that simply referring to Rand doesn't answer it, because she never addressed it.
  5. Sorry about the wrong quote attribute. The system software behaves strangely. I wasn't asking about your support of Rand's position on IP. I was asking about your response to the nonscarcity argument, which Rand never addressed, because it wasn't raised in her time.
  6. More persuasive with respect to what? AFAIK, Rand never addressed the nonscarcity argument. I don't think it was even raised in her time. So you can't say her argument against it is more persuasive. You would have to show why that argument is invalid with your own reasoning.
  7. Competition is the nature of LFC. The potential for A to make less money because of the presence of Ax in the market is not a justification for the prohibition of Ax. To advocate such prohibition is to be opposed to LFC. That is not the only way. A can simply implement the idea better than his competitors, outcompeting them. Again, this is the nature of LFC. This is not "mere theory". It's exactly what happened with the steam engine. When his patent expired, Watt made more money by emphasizing quality over his competitors. Also, the fact is that innovation thrived in the biotech and software industries prior to patents being imposed on them, and did NOT increase after they were. This refutes the claim that IP is "needed" for innovation. Because it is theft. A is taking the property of the others by force, at the point of a gun. If you take what is in my wallet, I cannot use that money. This is fundamentally different from using an idea gained via peaceful means, because ideas are not scarce. A’s beach house is a scarce good. That makes it completely different from an idea, which is nonscarce.
  8. Of course I am, because you said you define virtue in the Objectivist sense. I was showing that you aren't. You're coming up with your own ethics that holds that theft is a virtue. As I previously asked, why then wouldn't you advocate having the most ruthless egoistic thug as head of state instead of a businessman? For that matter, there is no reason for you to not consider ANY thug initiating ANY kind of force (including murder) to be virtuous. After all, your only standard is what is useful to the thug. So you are advocating that men interact with each each other on such a basis. This is a "surrender of all the virtues required by life—and death by a process of gradual destruction." Also, you're using "nonvirtuous" and "mindless" interchangeably. I don't think that's valid.
  9. As has been stated many times in this thread, ideas are nonscarce. Use of them cannot deprive anyone else of their use. That is the difference you refuse to acknowledge.
  10. Absolutely false. Here are John Galt’s (Rand’s) words from Atlas Shrugged: Rand says NO man may initiate the use of physical force against others. NOWHERE does it say that the virtuous may engage in theft (“virtuous theft” is an oxymoron). NOWHERE does it say that a man may steal from the “nonvirtuous”. You are saying that “your mind has convinced you of your right to force my mind” in defiance of reality, as Rand put it. Don’t bother to claim that it really isn’t theft, that A is not A. You are taking things from people at the point of a gun. That is theft, period. Not only are you advocating theft, you are indeed advocating it on a mass scale. So no, you are not advocating virtuous behavior according to Objectivism. You are advocating, as Rand put it, "death by a process of gradual destruction....when death is made to be the ruling power, the winning argument in a society of men." And if you don’t think that matters, as you put it, then you are in fundamental opposition to the Objectivist view of virtue.
  11. I agree with this. What I find interesting is the attitude that copying is ok as long as the copier doesn’t make money from it. The implied attitude that there’s something base and immoral about making money from a copy (as opposed to the more “pure” motive of personal use) is one that I would expect to come from the anti capitalists, not proponents of LFC.
  12. I see circular reasoning here. You’re saying “theft is virtuous if done by the virtuous”, without bothering to define what is virtuous. You say the only heads of state should be those with a proven track record in business because you assume they are virtuous. But you say nothing about why they are virtuous. No one considers such businessmen virtuous because they engage in mass theft, murder, etc. (else you would have said you wanted only the most ruthless egoistic thug to be head of state). They do so because such people are good at creating things of value that people want to voluntarily trade for. So you are saying “I want these people who are considered virtuous for not engaging in theft to engage in theft. I want them to be admired for being not A because I admire them for being A.” You also state that funding government functions voluntarily would not be a virtue, while simultaneously declaring such voluntary funding by businessmen to be virtuous. Yet another contradiction.
  13. This is a false premise (as Rand would say, you need to check it). Reasoning based on it is faulty. The fact that ideas are nonscarce is not a statement about how valuable they are or the source of their value. The point, which you have been unable to refute, is that there can be no loss of use of something that is nonscarce (you have agreed that ideas are nonscarce). This fact is true regardless of its value, regardless of whether it‘s a design for a better mousetrap (relatively low value) or a cure for cancer (extremely high value). Do you really think the guys making their own spears after seeing someone else invent one don't think the idea of a spear is valuable? Grasping an idea does indeed do nothing to diminish its value. In fact, the grasping of it by someone else opens the door to its value being enhanced by him. It makes no sense to object to such enhancement. You haven’t explained why anyone needs to worry about owning something that is nonscarce, since he cannot be deprived of its use. A man cannot be deprived of the fruits of his labor if those fruits are nonscarce. They are still there for him to use. The anti IP argument position does not contradict this. As previously stated, use of a nonscarce idea does not deny the source or degree of its value in any way whatsoever. However, once it is known by others, its value is independent of the originator. The mind that brings an idea into existence still has full possession of it and full use of it regardless of the use of it by others, since it is nonscarce. It has not been lost by that mind.
  14. You are contradicting yourself. Taxation is theft. Theft is not virtuous. But then you say that anything done should be virtuous. This is a form of saying "do A by not doing A".
  15. I'm not seeing any objection from you to noncommercial copying.