Jaron Lanier must have won an award for most ridiculous idea on the digital economy with the grand prize being a lengthy column in the NYT. The great gift of the Internet is that it can costlessly deliver massive amounts of information and creative material almost anywhere in the world.

So what is Jaron Lanier's brilliant idea? He wants to set up a tollgate charging for every bit of information. What a great idea -- maybe if we give Mr. Laner more time to develop ideas he will come up with a new tax on the printing press.

There are simple ways to fund creative work that don't require an information tax on every item transferred (here's mine), but it requires that people think slightly creatively. I know that it is nearly impossible among an intellectual class that thought Reinhart-Rogoff's work on debt and growth was serious economics, but that is the world in which we live.

 

Note: typo fixed.

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