If a type system creates more problems than it is worth, you can certainly use a crash and burn development methodology with a dynamically typed language. Mostly though, the trend in dynamic languages is to add type annotations, not take them away.
Sufficiently large systems (Google: "programming in the large") are rarely developed in unannotated dynamic languages because they are simply too fragile - too many errors cannot be caught before deployment. If it was a net loss, nobody would write programs in statically typed languages, ever.
I agree that the DMCA is wrong, but if it won't go away, then abusing it (including using it negligently) needs to carry a lot more risk than it does now.
A good start for a copyright reform would be a rollback. Copyright of everything created to date is rolled back to expire when it would have expired under the law as it was at the time of creation. While I'm sure many would complain bitterly, they wouldn't actually have much to hang their complaints on legally or philosophically. They will have exactly the boon that was to encourage the creation of the work in the first place. Their only "loss" would be the ill gotten gains from bribed lawmakers.
The rest can come from there.
I'm a mathematician, and I'm afraid I really don't know what you're talking about.
Mathematics is often pictured as a very isolated practice -- a person sitting alone at a desk. But it's surprisingly social, and while there is a fair amount of desk time, there's a lot of interpersonal relationships (as you put it) in the actual doing of math. Asking questions, explaining your results, mentoring students, even teaching classes -- a lot of math involves other people.
Anyway, I know lots of mathematicians, and I think generally they're pretty happy people.
Your post is very thoughtful.
You are right about exclusivity, that is a pretty fundamental difference. But even so, it's not the one that necessitates the monopoly institution. The reason is: the first copy still commands a higher price than every subsequent copy. That is how artists can (and, imho, should) make money, and that is a sufficient incentive to create. Copyright is an unnecessary evil; not a great evil, but a somewhat major annoyance and an overhead on all art production.
In practical terms, I totally agree with you: our first priority today should be to take a moderate political position and to reduce terms to sensible levels. We can do so gradually over the next decade or two. In the end, a term of under 2 years would be great, and anything over 5 is just plain overkill. Make that retroactive (apparently, it is OK for extending the term). This will create an entire new world of free culture, while giving big players a cushion as they adjust their business process.
Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten