I Want It

Jun 4, 2003

Early in the study of economics, students are often confronted with an interesting presupposition: if you don’t have it, you don’t want it. The premise being that if you really wanted something, it would already be in your figurative pocket, even if it meant structuring your entire life around attaining the prize. What we normally perceive as want is just a bit of whining about the conscious choices we’ve already made. By soliciting a new study on software piracy, the Business Software Alliance added a new twist: if you want it and don’t have it, you’ve pirated it.

Here’s a snippet of the Yahoo news article that talks about the rigorous methods of the study:

The study was conducted for the Business Software Alliance by International Planning and Research Corp. The piracy rate was calculated by comparing the researchers’ estimates on demand with data on actual software sales.

Basically, any gap between what they say you need and what you have is filled with thievery and deception. Wouldn’t the used car salesmen of the universe just love to capture that logic in a bottle? I can hear the RIAA dialing the phone right now.

Just imagine if this theory could be applied to other industries. You pirated that fancy sports car. Didn’t you? Best Buy is just full of folks pirating those big screen high definition televisions. I’m pirating that mansion on the beach right now.

I’d say this study was really an analysis of the simple laws of supply and demand but that would be irresponsible. Any analysis should include hard facts and rely more on long term trends than the results of a tarot card reading.

From a business perspective, what the study should tell the BSA is why these companies pirate their software if, in fact, any of them are doing so. Supply and demand are way out of whack. Prices are much too high for what is being offered. Why should we pay $399 for Office XP? Word 6.0 suits us just fine.

The results of this study lie in the land of fiction, alongside astrology and the novels of Harry Potter on the believability scale. And I believe J.K. Rowling makes a whole lot more sense.

by | Categories: technology |

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