The evils of patents and copyrights

Two economists at the St. Louis Federal Reserve have called for the abolition of the American patent system, a proposal I endorse 100 per cent.   I would include copyright.

Their argument is that the patent system retards innovation.  My argument is that patents and copyright restrict competition which increases inequality.

“The historical and international evidence suggests that while weak patent systems may mildly increase innovation with limited side effects, strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side effects,” Boldrin and Levine wrote. “More generally, the initial eruption of innovations leading to the creation of a new industry—from chemicals to cars, from radio and television to personal computers and investment banking—is seldom, if ever, born out of patent protection and is instead the fruit of a competitive environment.”

 

In order to have a competitive market there should be no restrictions on entry to that market.  The purpose  of patents is to give the patent holder protection from competition.

zeimusu_Sri_Yantra secondGenius is 90 per cent plagiarism.

If the British had strongly enforced patent protection, we would not have had the industrial revolution.  If the Elizabethans had copyright, we would not have Shakespeare.  If the Romans had copyright, we would not have the Bible.  If we didn’t have patents and copyright we would have a more equal society with even more useful gadgets and medical research would focus and serious diseases rather than the diseases of us rich people.

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2 Responses

  1. A bit extreme. I would be happy with copyright for life of author, or if the book is owned by a company or trust, a maximum of thirty years.

    As for patents, sufficient time to recoup expenses plus a profit. Economists have atrempted to work this one out, and foe software it can be as little as five years before the idea is redundant.

  2. I totally agree. I think patents are contra productive and the whole system is a relict whose existence should better soon end.

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