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August 28, 2008

Staff Picks: Nick Hornby on Naked Economics

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

In Naked Economics, Charles Wheelan makes an analogy between music "piracy" and farming, writing "You spend all summer tending to your corn crop and then your neighbor drives by in his combine, waves cheerily, and proceeds to harvest the whole crop for himself."
Though an overall fan of the book, Nick Hornby disagrees with that specific sentiment. Writing about it on his blog on Tuesday, he grabbed hold of Wheelan's analogy and took it to a hilarious conclusion. After making a concise point about the very different nature of corn and music as products, he goes on to write:

(One reason why people--OK, evil people--feel it's OK to download, say, a Jay-Z album without paying for it is that there are few outward signs that Jay-Z is suffering as a result.) Or is the record company the farmer, in Wheelan's analogy? Well, if the farmer had spent decades overcharging grotesquely for corn, ... then perhaps the thieves would have been cheered all the way to the bootleg farmer's market.

This being a family blog, I cut out what exactly the record company execs spent their "grotesque" profits on, but Hornby continues from there, comparing some of the more innovative ways musicians have been releasing their music to traditional farming (and pointing you to online resources for free music along the way).