Saturday, October 27, 2007

Information: The Perfect Economic Good (Part 5)


One reason that information is said not to be a good is because it cannot be consumed. What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. (Coiera 221) The evidence that points towards information not being an economic good, reversely, can also be used to prove that the characteristics of Information falls well within the definition of being an economic good.

According to Bates, information possesses the several attributes that other economic goods have (Bates 380). Again, Bates states that information has a utility, it can be transferred and most importantly, it has the capability of having value attached to it (Bates 381), which are all attributes of other economic goods such as computers, livestock or lumber. Varian also explains how his three areas of concerns about information being an economic good can easily be disputed. Varian spells out three ways that the fact that you must first experience information before one know what is really is can be thwarted by previewing the information, obtaining reviews of the information or purchasing information simply on the reputation of the information.

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