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Every so often an idea comes along that transforms our understanding of how the world works. Michael Heller has discovered a market dynamic that no one knew existed. Usually, private ownership creates wealth, but too much ownership has the opposite effect--it creates gridlock. When too many people own pieces of one thing, whether a physical or intellectual resource, cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears, and everybody loses. Heller's paradox is at the center of "The Gridlock Economy." Today's leading edge of innovation--in high tech, biomedicine, music, film, real estate--requires the assembly of separately owned resources. But gridlock is blocking economic growth all along the wealth creation frontier.
A thousand scholars have applied and verified Heller's paradox. Now he takes readers on a lively tour of gridlock battlegrounds. Heller zips from medieval robber barons to modern-day broadcast spectrum squatters; from Mississippi courts selling African-American family farms to troubling New York City land confiscations; and from Chesapeake Bay oyster pirates to today's gene patent and music mash-up outlaws. Each tale offers insights into how to spot gridlock in operation and how we can overcome it.
"The Gridlock Economy" is a startling, accessible biography of an idea. Nothing is inevitable about gridlock. It results from choices we make about how to control the resources we value most. We can unlock the grid; this book shows us where to start.