Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date


Publication Information

93 Tex. L. Rev. See Also 231 (2015)


This essay reviews Orly Lobel's article The New Cognitive Property: Human Capital Law and the Reach of Intellectual Property. It commends Professor Lobel for outlining the contours of the “new” field of human capital law, and for emphasizing the potential consequences of the growing enclosure of cognitive capacities in contemporary markets. From this starting point the essay makes two modest suggestions for researchers. First, it suggests that those building on Lobel’s work consider more contextual description and evaluation of human and intellectual capital production systems. Doing so would avoid overly abstract, macro-level analysis that is often divorced from reality and from the critical nuances that shape actors’ individual and collective motivations and behavior. It would also avoid excessive reliance on overly specific, micro-level analysis, which can be anecdotal. Second, the essay emphasizes the importance of establishing normative baselines prior to evaluating or prescribing reform.

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