Friday, September 21, 2007

Information: The Perfect Economic Good (Part 1)

Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire; it wafts across the electrified borders.
-Ronald Regan 1989 (Andrews)

Through out the ages, many people and organizations, both public and private have ceaselessly tried to find ways to create and distribute products that will bring the greatest amount of profit. Businesses, organizations and individuals produce, market and sell millions of items each day in order to get more money in return than they spent to produce the item. Even in the early age, civilizations were trying to get the most for their seashells. As societies evolved, goods that were traded moved from tangible items to the intangible. Instead of simply trading tangible goods such as livestock and jewelry, and semi-tangible goods such as services and labor, trade have increasingly started to encompass goods that do not have a physical form and that can not be counted. As so poetically alluded to by Ronald Reagan in the aformentioned quotation, information and its goods have become a formidable economic good that dominates trade in certain areas, though information is traded in today’s society, the thought of many economists, both traditional and contemporary has thwarted the notion that information could be considered an economic good. The type of economic discipline that one follows determines in which way that some economists deny information entry into the category as an economic good. In the following analysis, examples of economic goods are examined in order to give a basis as to what is meant when talking about an “economic good”. The characteristics and definitions of Information, as it pertains to economics and economic goods, will also be analyzed, along with ways that Information and its goods and technology are used in commerce. Through this careful examination of the definition and characteristics of an economic good and Information, and comparing their characteristics it will be proven that Information is in fact an economic good, and one that should be taken seriously.

(continued in the weeks to come)