Anyone reading this blog might get bored with the number of times I say that Henry George was right, and is even more right today than in his own time. But that’s what I do, and part of the reason for this blog is to provide a place where I can record show up.
Location is [still] everything, says the new book by Prof David R. Bell. When I saw the title, I thought it was about land value and real estate, but no, it’s actually about marketing on the Internet and evidence that location matters, a lot, to marketers working in that [virtual] space. For example, the best initial customers for your Internet business might be those who are relatively isolated and haven’t any local sources for your product. Subsequent customers might be those nearby to these customers, who learn of you thru conversation or by observing distinctive shipping boxes. And, for some reason which Bell does not try to explain, even for virtual goods people are most likely to turn to the geographically closest sources.
It’s a nice book for anyone who studied economic geography and marketing in the dark ages, bringing a few things up to date, but quite accessible to every interested reader.
Then there’s the matter of monopoly over text, part of what’s sometimes called “intellectual property” by those who seek to profit by restricting it. This comes from a fascinating interview with writer Poe Ballantine, well worth a listen in its entirely. Ballantine has found it difficult making a living as a writer, drifting geographically and among relatively menial jobs, mainly in food service it seems. He says that after four books he was still known mainly as “the cook.” But now he has reached the point where he can actually earn a living as a writer.
[starting about 45:35 into the audio]
Q: So your writing is sustaining you financially?
A: The writing is not quite enough, but the appearances, the invitations from colleges and universities are what cover my expenses right now. They pay very well. That’s where the money is; the money is not in selling books, the money is in the universities where people go to get their writing degrees.
So maybe the fighting over copyrights doesn’t benefit the writer? But, at least, sometimes the education monopoly brings about something useful.