Summary of Permissionless Innovation

The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom

Mercatus Center,

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Permissionless Innovation summary
Unfettered innovation leads to a better society.


8 Overall

9 Importance

7 Innovation

7 Style


Adam Thierer, a research fellow at the conservative Mercatus Center, makes a strong case for “permissionless innovation,” a hands-off approach to technological advances. He explains that crafting reasonable regulations is difficult because policy makers assume that the past predicts the future and because they begin from a position of fearing the worst-case scenarios. However, technology moves too fast for legislative procedures to match its progress. Thierer’s energetic prose, supported by detailed references, deserves careful reading. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends his compelling case for a fearless laissez-faire approach to regulating new technology to regulators and to those who are wary of regulation.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the wrong kind of regulation can impede innovation,
  • Why “permissionless innovation” matters to technological progress and
  • What policy makers must do to make it a reality while addressing real concerns about security and privacy.


“Why Permissionless Innovation Matters”
The Internet and its related technologies created a world of immediately available information, a setting in which anyone’s voice can be heard. These advances bloomed in an environment of permissionless innovation, a climate that invites experimentation...
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About the Author

Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center Technology Policy Program, specializes in the Internet and free speech, and reports on media, safety and digital privacy.

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