Based on the economic model used to classify 'goods' in an economy; private goods such as found in the entertainment/media industries, or any item on the internet subject to file sharing or digital copying in any form including – at the extreme – the human genome, solid object 3D printing, and even money in the form of bit-coins, are being slowly repositioned from what are termed 'private' or 'club'/'congestion' goods, to the extreme opposite, public goods. The ‘free rider problem’ of Public Goods has become the ‘free copy problem’. Public Goods failure in the market, and are therefore provided by Government. Is this the destiny of internet goods?
It came to me while teaching the market failure economics and analysing examples of ‘public’ and ‘private’ goods: I was looking at the (market) differences between 'Cable TV' - which is known as a ‘club good' or 'natural monopoly', – and 'free to air TV' – which is known as a ‘public good: I began to see other examples or repetition’s of the subject at different scales and contexts, and after doing so, noticed something interesting, if not astounding, newspapers and the like are now – at least in their digital form – public goods.
1.1 Public Goods
1.2 Public Goods and the Internet
1.3 The free rider (free copy) problem
1.4 Lack of Rivalry
It is as if the Internet has formed some kind of an economic black hole. Is there any escaping? Our own privacy on the Internet may well fall under this public goods paradox also: including – in the future – ones genome.