Ryan’s Intro

I’m happy to a part of this blog with my good friends and colleagues. I am in my fourth year at GMU and am currently on the academic job market (wish me luck). My dissertation brings an institutional focus to bear to copyright and its alternatives.
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I plan on focusing my posts here largely on ideas and intellectual property (IP), both at a scholarly and popular level. I believe IP is one of the big issues of our age, and especially our generation. I think that we are not bringing all of our intellectual resources we have down to bear on the issue: rather than focusing on optimizing a tradeoff between increasing incentives for innovators and increasing monopoly power from an engineering standpoint, I think we should better understand the nexus of institutions involved in managing the common pool resource we call knowledge. At a broader level, what really interests me is the political economy of alternative institutions that provide public goods.
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I view this blog as the spiritual successor to all the temporary personal blogs I have tried to maintain over the past few years at my personal website. I will stop blogging at my website and focus all of my attention here.
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You can find more about me, including my research, CV, and teaching, at my website: ryansafner.com

Obligatory Introduction

Welcome to the Calculus of Dissent.
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We are five economics doctoral students at George Mason University all at or approaching candidacy, and all with a strong passion for economics and discussing ideas. We thought that this blog would be a good way to keep in close contact and stay intellectually engaged. Hopefully it will emerge into something more.
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While each of us researches, teaches, and writes about different subject areas, we all believe that economics is pervasive and that using the tools of economics can gain insight into nearly all aspects of human society. We also all explore issues from a perspective that emphasizes the nature of markets as emergent discovery processes, the role that incentives play in politics, and the importance of social institutions in determining prosperity, all of which we feel can be neglected sometimes by our fellow economists, scholars, and pundits. Otherwise, we have no specific agenda. We hope to post about a lot of different issues, and see where the conversation goes.
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Notably, we decided to launch this blog after many days of deliberation. We settled on the name “the Calculus of Dissent” just a few days before the passing of one of our collective intellectual heroes, Gordon Tullock, who has influenced each of us greatly.
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Expect a brief intro from each of us before we return back to your normally scheduled programming. Of course, all of the posts on here are not affiliated with or endorsed by any institution, and all opinions contained are the individual author’s own.