Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 11th Jan 2010 14:50 UTC
Legal Last Friday, January 8, the University of Amsterdam (I'm with the competition) handed out an honorary doctorate to Harvard prof. Lawrence Lessig, known to you all (I may hope!) as one of the founding members of the wildly successful Creative Commons project. During the acceptance ceremony, he held one of his keynote presentations - and one that is required listening material for everyone. And with everyone - I mean everyone.
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RE: Ummmm...
by DoctorD on Tue 12th Jan 2010 01:04 UTC in reply to "Ummmm..."
DoctorD
Member since:
2009-03-08

You shoot yourself in the foot by designing worthwhile drugs, only to make them unavailable and highly cost prohibitive by securing government granted monopolies. These monopolies by their very nature eliminate competition (and collaboration) that makes a free market tick.

It's a self defeating cycle. What good are wonderful drugs when they are exponentially more expensive then what people can reasonably afford, and only allowed to be produced, manufactured, and even improved upon by a tiny group of government backed central planners - whoever the patents holders happen to be. You waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money on such a system and then incorporate much more then that as legal fees into the cost of products. We're talking huge, enormous amounts of wasted money, and more often then not, decades of wasted time, on products that end up being overpriced and limited to specific areas, out of reach by most who could otherwise benefit from them.

Case in point, a cement based insulation known as airkrete, developed many years ago, is 100 percent fire proof, termite proof, rot proof, non toxic, has exceptional R value, and can be pumped into wall cavities without much defacement. It's outstanding. If it weren't for the government / monopolistic powers, we'd likely see this material becoming commonplace (via any company who wants to startup a business in the material) and replacing fiberglass, styrofoam, and cellulose, as further innovation and manufacturing plants pop up spontaneously, without threats of legal action. This would drive prices down and increase availability many times over, worldwide. As it is, "airkrete" is only marketed by a single company on the northeast US coast. It's also produced on a limited scale which means it costs anywhere between 60 to 80 cents per inch per square foot, or roughly a whopping $15,000 to $20,000 for a mere 2500 square foot roof (10 inch thickness). Great ideas often become ludicrously cost prohibitive and and scarce in supply when government granted monopolies forbid their creation and manipulation by anyone but a select few.

Being against the concept of patents (or any kind of IP) is not being anti-profit. It's that simple. Don't make the mistake of thinking so one-dimentitonally; thats a false dichotomy.

If somebody can take an idea, and implement it better, cheaper, faster, or improve upon it in any way (without lying or committing fraud), why let the big guns step in and prevent them from doing so?

There were several parts of the presentation I did not like. The professor seems to be basking in his own intellectual glory, too often using funky words and sentences where simple ones would suffice. I got the just of what he was saying, and I suppose if you drew a line in the sand we would be on the same side. But his angle and perspective seem pretty warped by whatever academic philosophy he's lives within, whereas my arguments are more about being down to earth and pragmatic. He seems to have a different fuel burning his fire.

Edited 2010-01-12 01:12 UTC

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