American Samizdat

Saturday, May 26, 2007. *
You Can / Can't Compete With Free
The Ludwig von Mises Institute is "the research and educational center of classical liberalism, libertarian political theory, and the Austrian School of economics." They sell a number of books, and they also give away the complete contents of those books in several digital formats. Books, Online and Off by Jeffrey Tucker describes how by giving their books away their sale of books increased and the ideas contained in those books went into a wider and more active circulation. The Market Function of Piracy by Jerry Kirkpatrick goes one step further, suggesting that piracy aids non-pirated sales.

Reason is "the monthly print magazine of 'free minds and free markets.' It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity." The current issue is online for free in its entirety, as is every back issue all the way back to 1971. You can subscribe if you like.

Of course there's also my humble effort, OVO. All back issues (1987 - present) are online for free, or if you simply must you can buy a couple issues. I confess two articles are not present in the online edition: one removed because the author asked me to, the other because it was an entire chapter reprinted without permission from a book (easy to get away with in the underground, not so much online).

The capitalists I just described (mostly) give it all away. How do the anti-capitalists compare? Adbusters offers select articles from select issues. Anarchy magazine offers select articles from select issues. Fifth Estate offers select articles from select issues. Green Anarchy offers select articles from select issues. Class War offers select articles from select issues.

It isn't hard to find counter-examples of the trend suggested above. Here's one, and here's another. But take a moment to ponder why some capitalists are giving things away and some anti-capitalists are not. Which model is taking best advantage of what the Internet does? Which is walking their talk?
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:38 PM
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