Do you need permission to innovate?

“Permissionless innovation”—the general freedom to experiment with new technologies and business models—has been the secret sauce that fueled the success of the Internet and the digital economy, and it is set to power the next great industrial revolution—if we let it.

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About the book

What policy vision will govern the future of technological innovation? Will innovators be forced to constantly seek the blessing of public officials before they develop and deploy new devices and services, or will they be generally left free to experiment with new technologies and business models?

In Permissionless Innovation: The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom, Adam Thierer argues that if the former disposition (“the precautionary principle”) trumps the latter (“permissionless innovation”), the result will be fewer services, lower quality goods, higher prices, diminished economic growth, and a decline in the overall standard of living.

When public policy is shaped by “precautionary principle” reasoning, it poses a serious threat to technological progress, economic entrepreneurialism, and long-run prosperity. By contrast, “permissionless innovation” has been the secret sauce that fueled the success of the Internet and much of the modern tech economy in recent years, and it is set to power the next great industrial revolution—if we let it.


About the Author

Adam Thierer is a senior research fellow with the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Forbes, and he contributes to The Technology Liberation Front, a leading tech policy blog.


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Contents

I. Introduction: Why Permissionless Innovation Matters
II. Saving Progress from the Technocrats
III. What Prompts Precautionary Thinking and Policy Today
IV. Taking Adaptation Seriously
V. Preserving Permissionless Innovation: Principles of Progress
VI. Conclusion: It’s about Freedom, Progress, and Prosperity

Adam Thierer discusses the major themes from Permissionless Innovation


Research & Essays on Topics in Permissionless Innovation


Permissionless Innovation in the Media

Adam Thierer speech to Capitol Hill staff on “What Drives Innovation: Permission or Freedom?”

Adam Thierer slide presentation on “Permissionless Innovation & the Grand Tech Policy Clash of Visions to Come”

Adam Thierer discusses private drones & Permissionless Innovation on Stossel show

Adam Thierer discusses ridesharing & Permissionless Innovation on Stossel show