Q&A: Rent-seeking?

“…rent-seeking involves seeking to increase one’s share of existing wealth without creating new wealth.

The classic example of rent-seeking, according to Robert Shiller, is that of a feudal lord who installs a chain across a river that flows through his land and then hires a collector to charge passing boats a fee (or rent of the section of the river for a few minutes) to lower the chain. There is nothing productive about the chain or the collector. The lord has made no improvements to the river and is helping nobody in any way, directly or indirectly, except himself. All he is doing is finding a way to make money from something that used to be free.”


How much of our social media profit-seeking (e.g., expanding our reach, dialoguing with our community, increasing regularity of content publishing, examining conversion metrics, etc.) is actually rent-seeking, versus trying to add real value to our communities?

If you answered, “very little” or even “none”, what aspect of your social media strategy most closely resembles rent-seeking?

How can we somehow create new wealth, even if we are artists who only create intellectual property?

What could we create that we, our clients, and the community at large would truly value?


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