America’s deadly obsession with intellectual property: Privatizing life-saving technology like vaccines and clean energy is bad both for the coronavirus and the climate crisis
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- America's Deadly Obsession With Intellectual Property
- Kate Aronoff
- May 21 2020
- Word count
- 1408 words
I honestly don't understand why we privatize anything. If something's worth doing, then by definition it does not need an additional incentive on top it to make it worth doing. Meanwhile, there's tons of stuff that's only worth doing because it makes money. Things like actual scams. Theft. Putting shiny garbage at the front of the checkout line that nobody should ever waste their money on but you know people will anyway. Evicting people. Payday lending. Repomen. Collections agencies. Sweatshops. Tow truck drivers. Selling heroin. Paying your employees as little as possible. The oil industry. The tax prep industry. Hiding all the horrible stuff it takes to make the stuff we consume literally every day. And yeah, holding life saving treatments hostage for cash, too. I could go on all day.
Sorry for the rant.
IMO, IP laws in the US have definitely gone quite a bit too far in favor of private interests over the public good (which you can thank Disney and the Pharmaceutical industry for), but the idea of IP is not a fundamentally flawed one. Without any IP laws, major corporations could simply take any/every good idea that someone else comes up with and use their already established marketshare, branding, and economy of scale advantages to crush that person's own attempts to make a living from it. And on the opposite side, you can basically kiss large scale private R&D goodbye without IP laws, since the ROI would potentially be undercut so much by allowing anyone to utilize their discoveries, that none of the big players would likely even try to innovate anymore. After all, why would they spend money on R&D, when they could instead just wait for someone else to come up with an idea or discovery first and then steal it for themselves?