Paying Attention


Tyler Cowan quotes from Richard Lanham's new book The Economics of Attention as follows:

In an economy of stuff, the laws of property govern who owns stuff. In an attention economy, it is the laws of intellectual property that govern who gets attention.

Wrong. What governs who gets attention is who creates interesting, attention-grabbing content (yes, I loathe the word "content", sorry to use it). The laws don't matter. What you create can be in the public domain -- covered and controlled by no laws whatsoever -- and you can still receive plenty of attention (after all, that's exactly what a classic is: an older work in the public domain that continues to garner attention). In fact this blog and my websites are in some ways an existence proof that Lanham is wrong, and I don't even work hard at getting attention, since I'm not particularly interested in that form of currency.

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal