Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Monday, July 18, 2005  

Killing the golden goose - why free markets (and freedom) are rare in history

An article at TCS
illustrates the importance of both physical and intellectual property.

It is not exactly the tragedy of the Commons when people download music or movies and lower the gross take on investment by the creators of the product. Nor is it when the Argentine government makes it impossible for Monsanto to collect royalties on its seeds, and in fact encourages the theft of their patent by allowing farmers to keep seeds from its harvest to use the next year without paying royalties, or allows other people to "copy" the seeds and sell them in bulk without paying royalties.

The Left thinks this is great. "Everything should be free! Free! Free!" The hippie idiot proclaims without wondering who will produce all the marvelous goods for free.

It is the same with the Pharma companies and their patents being stolen.

If you steal their product, they will stop creating more product. You would think politicians might realize that pretty quickly as their economies suffer, but of course, they don't.

Governments more often believe that if they have a need, then they should just take without regard for a small group it might hurt. (When the people cry out for bread, how can I not let them raid the bakeries? So many a tyrant will say.)

The protection of private property is the foundation of all our other rights as numerous pundits have reminded us since the Kelo decision by SCOTUS.

There are some legal remedies to what Argentina is doing. Monsanto can sue them in foreign countries when they ship their soybeans and demand royalty payment on them or otherwise seize their cargos into an embargo where they cannot be offloaded.

But that dance goes through many international legal iterations.

What we see is that real civilization is both precious and fragile. Too many assaults on property and the free market dies.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 7:06 PM |