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What went unmentioned in Posner's article is that by not raising the debt ceiling, as many Republicans want to do, they will make the interest rates increase, which would make it more difficult for the federal gov't to borrow. So, while the ceiling itself doesn't put a lid on borrowing, the increasing rates will. It is a political strategy by the small faction of the GOP to hamper federal gov't by making it more difficult to do so.
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The interesting question is to how implement this professional model and how it could be enforced, even if via self-enforcement. How can incentives be allocated in this model?
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Judge Posner, I am sure by now you have read Richard Epstein's response to your recent ruling: Although Epstein voices his disagreement with your judicial opinion and personal views at a somewhat general level, it is plausible that if one zooms in on details, his argument may be solid. It might very well be the case that without patent protection, it would be difficult to attract the various investors to a particular firm aiming to make and market a product. The counter-argument to that, of course, is that once the playing field is level - patents are either wholly eliminated, or eliminated from some fields - investors would have no choice but to invest in firms and products based not on the attractiveness of patents, but based on the marketing expertise and potential of a given firm. However, this imposes its own costs on the system as a whole. It would surely create a state of flux, because uncertainty of marketing is still greater than a legal uncertainty of patent protection. In sum, I think it's worth to examine potential costs on all sides of the equation and this is a debate that should be taken seriously not just by scholars, judges and other experts in the field, but by US Congress.
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Oct 1, 2012