Should Intellectual Property Rights Exist?

Let the ideological battle commence! Professor Terence Kealey and Christopher Snowdon go head-to-head to debate a contested issue that has divided classical liberals for centuries – should intellectual property rights exist? Professor Terence Kealey, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham argues that instead of bringing prosperity and increased innovation to society, some forms of IP such as patents, are a “downright menace.” Terence acknowledges that while some forms of intellectual property can be useful, in the world of science, patents promote stagnation and as such, should be abolished. In the opposite corner, we have Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA. Chris has stated that “there should be no argument over the basic principle that people should be rewarded for ideas that make the world a better place.” In Chris’ view, intellectual property rights provide a crucial incentive for individuals and organisations to make useful goods and services that benefit us all. This lively debate is hosted by our own Policy Analyst, Alexander Hammond.