Friday, February 3, 2012

Rick Santorum Needs to Embrace Markets, Reject Intellectual Property

The senator's talk about people being "conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it" and being "alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug" only goes so far — Rick Santorum Tells Sick Kid Market Should Should Set Drug Prices.

Recently on these pages we read how The American Conservative's Sheldon Richman argued, "Contrary to [Ayn] Rand, ideas, while inherent in purposeful human action, have no role in establishing ownership," and "what is at stake in IP" is "monopoly power granted by the state" — Patent Nonsense. He quotes two libertarian authors about the history of medicine:
    Historically, intellectual monopoly in pharmaceuticals has varied enormously over time and space. The summary story: the modern pharmaceutical industry developed faster in those countries where patents were fewer and weaker… . [I]f patents were a necessary requirement for pharmaceutical innovation, as claimed by their supporters, the large historical and cross-country variations in the patent protection of medical products should have had a dramatic impact on national pharmaceutical industries. In particular, at least between 1850 and 1980, most drugs and medical products should have been invented and produced in the United States and the United Kingdom, and very little if anything produced in continental Europe. Further, countries such as Italy, Switzerland, and, to a lesser extent, Germany, should have been the poor, sick laggards of the pharmaceutical industry until recently. Instead, the opposite was true for longer than a century.
Mr. Richman concluded that "cheaper technology and the increasing unenforceability of IP may be ushering in a full-fledged economic revolution marked by smaller, flatter, even nonhierarchical worker-owned firms in a newly decentralized competitive marketplace. In other words, the postcapitalist world could look like a genuinely free market." And perhaps a revolution in medicines.

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

1 Comments:

Blogger Pints in NYC said...

So many people are concerned with intellectual property, but I wish they were as concerned with all the intellectual bankruptcy in this country.

February 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home