World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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World & Current Events > Evolution or revolution?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Sometimes things evolve and change harmoniously, while some other times change needs a little more to occur. Revolutions can be progressive and regressive, bloody and peaceful. Some of them left imprint on the global history. As revolutions require revolutionaries, whom would you consider worth mentioning and was their deed positive or negative?
Spartacus, Garibaldi, Zapata, Che? Or maybe one/few of those dudes: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2...


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments My two with the biggest influence would be Washington and Lenin, which we might say are positive and negative in that order. In the more non-violent revolutionaries, I would suggest Hammurabi, Gutenberg, Akhenaten, Aristotle, Newton and Luther. By and large, good. Whoever inscribed "The Epic of Gilgamesh" also stands out, but we don't know who that was, and in fairness, much of those times is lost. Whoever thought about farming wheat has to count, as for that matter whoever controlled fire, and whoever learned to smelt copper ores.


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Ian wrote: "My two with the biggest influence would be Washington and Lenin, which we might say are positive and negative in that order. In the more non-violent revolutionaries, I would suggest Hammurabi, Gute..."

Why should Lenin be viewed as negative in your opinion?
Not sure it's impact was less progressive on Russia than that of French revolution a century earlier..

It seems hardly anyone can match Che Guevara's popularity or maybe someone can?


message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments If you read "The state and revolution" you will see that Lenin completely failed to live up to his own prescription, and setting the scene for Stalin's terror has to be a negative, in my opinion.


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Ian wrote: "If you read "The state and revolution" you will see that Lenin completely failed to live up to his own prescription, and setting the scene for Stalin's terror has to be a negative, in my opinion."

Lenin was wounded and derailed shortly after he came to power in 1918. He never really recovered before dying 6 years later. He effectively dismantled the old stagnating regime of aristocracy and set scene for tectonic changes. Some things he managed to care for himself, like electrification. Not sure he's responsible for Stalin's ascension, nor he viewed him as his heir. Stalin though managed to outmaneuver and kill all of his peer comrades as well as millions of others...


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments I do not believe Lenin wanted Stalin, in fact I gather he warned people about him, but he never got his succession right, and his Cheka certainly set the way for Stalin. The Soviet Union would have been a lot better off, but for Stalin, although there is a case that it might not have survived Hitler's assault.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Ian wrote: "I do not believe Lenin wanted Stalin, in fact I gather he warned people about him, but he never got his succession right, and his Cheka certainly set the way for Stalin. The Soviet Union would have..."

Yeah, with an alternative history we can never know how it would've turned out..
I have a feeling socialism might've had a more successful implementation in a little more subtle, life - and liberties - cherishing society..


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments My personal view is that communism per se should be a highly successful form of government, except for one thing - how do you select the people who control what gets done? This goes through all levels. At the top, in the USSR, it started out as sheer power, and Stalin had the ability to remove opposition, permanently. But even deeper down in the system, people tended to be promoted by guys above them, who did not want to have their limitations exposed, so you developed a cult of mediocrity. Finally, they did not have a proper way of rewarding people. thus workers on a communal farm should have been rewarded by what that farm produced, and not by some dictat from Moscow.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments There are many problems with communism and there are with capitalism too.. I don't think even the founding fathers of communism believed it was possible when the material equality couldn't be achieved. Hence - socialism.
A healthy deal of competitiveness mixed with general wellbeing can be a good formula. As Marx, Lenin and other dudes were primarily concerned with boundless exploitation, may well be that some modern societies would prove them that evolution can be more successful than revolution...


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments An important point in this discussion is what communism is? As Nik noted, Marx and Lenin were mainly concerned with exploitation, Stalin with power, and so on. My concept was that the state should own everything, organise socially required things like utilities, but groups could rent it out and prosper. Maybe a bit like a kibbutz. There would presumably have to be rules about dividing up the profits, but it would not be everyone getting the same, because all that means is nobody exerts themselves. Pay the lowest common denominator, and you get the dead minimum of effort from everyone. However, if the state owns everything, it removes the crass inequality we have now.


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Ian wrote: "An important point in this discussion is what communism is? As Nik noted, Marx and Lenin were mainly concerned with exploitation, Stalin with power, and so on. My concept was that the state should ..."

When someone mentions communism the web becomes very quiet -:) After century long propaganda against it coupled with real atrocities associated with it, the entire idea needs rebranding -:)
However, in its core it's about classless, equal society, exactly opposite to 'have' and 'have nots' and indeed it envisages state/communal ownership over the means of production.
I assume free healthcare, an education, where students instead of paying get paid a stipend for studying in the uni, zero unemployment and max social guarantees may be attractive for all those who are interested in reasonably moderate way of life (car, house, life) and care less about achieving jets and lamborghinis. Many elements are successfully implemented in Nordic capitalist countries, for example.
On the other hand, those who fancy individualism and competition, want to achieve, move forward, initiate, etc - the above may hinder and irritate.
I argue that the democratic system containing an acute economic inequality of billionaires and homeless, can exist only if the tension is cushioned by a more or less fed, content, large and amorphous to changes - middle class. (Oppression is also an alternative). If the tendency is towards the jobless world, which shall undermine middle class' subsistence, some adaptation in the form of universal income may be required in order to ensure stability, which, btw, is already being promoted in some countries.


message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments Funnily enough, I have never wanted to be a billionaire - and I cannot imagine how you would spend it all. I also cannot see how you can get to be one without exploiting others, or without extreme leveraging of the system. So, personally, I could do without billionaires. On the other hand, I do not believe everyone should earn the same - there has to be reward for effort. However, I also feel that extreme disparity in wealth can only be permitted to exist by the masses in an expanding economy. As long as people can see that they can see the chance for themselves to get ahead, they permit others to have got extremely far ahead. I rather suspect that that expansion is coming to an end. Right now it is sustained by debt, but I doubt anyone has any idea how that will end.


message 13: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments The web probably becomes quiet, Nik becase we've been there, done that - and it failed. Let's move on, get to Capitalism and Corporatism and Globalisation. So far, we only have taxation with which to control that lot. We are taking suggestions from would-be Marxist economists.


message 14: by Jeffery (last edited May 24, 2017 08:01AM) (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Nik wrote: "Ian wrote: "An important point in this discussion is what communism is? As Nik noted, Marx and Lenin were mainly concerned with exploitation, Stalin with power, and so on. My concept was that the s..."

Hi, Nik. Y'know, the tendency is also from joblessness, when you look at anthropology and the history of the workweek. Here's a tale with that fine feature and others: Perfect Timing (by me) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 15: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Ian wrote: "Funnily enough, I have never wanted to be a billionaire - and I cannot imagine how you would spend it all. I also cannot see how you can get to be one without exploiting others, or without extreme ..."


Hi, Ian. Here's a tale telling how it may end: Perfect Timing (by me) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 16: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments P.K. wrote: "The web probably becomes quiet, Nik becase we've been there, done that - and it failed. Let's move on, get to Capitalism and Corporatism and Globalisation. So far, we only have taxation with which ..."

Hi, PK: Besides shifting taxes from dumb (shrink their base) to smart (expand their base), we can also shift from dumb subsidies (e.g., corporate welfare, the source of outrageous fortune) to the Citizen's Dividend (a la Alaska). See how it works out in Perfect Timing (by me) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments P.K. wrote: "The web probably becomes quiet, Nik becase we've been there, done that - and it failed. Let's move on, get to Capitalism and Corporatism and Globalisation. So far, we only have taxation with which ..."

Not sure, it's because of that -:) BTW, China tries to prove otherwise, while bankrupt capitalist countries undermine the Cap. A sufficient percent of those who've really been there, still vote for communist parties be it in Ukraine, Russia and other places - mostly elderly -:)
Nothing is ideal and communism is Utopian at least at this stage, however we can strive for compilation of the best features taken from everywhere.
Unfortunately, the taxation, my impression, is often circumvented at the wealth level of a few millions and higher.


message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Jeffery wrote: "Hi, Nik. Y'know, the tendency is also from joblessness, when you look at anthropology and the history of the workweek..."

Hi Jeffery, an interesting book, however having written it doesn't mean you couldn't share your thoughts here, otherwise it may sound self-promotional and maybe pique curiosity, but at the same time avert potential readers just because of that -:)


message 19: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Hi, Nik, and thanks for suggesting that I share my thoughts here. You make good points. The etiquette I grew up with is a bit different: be brief, reply more often than initiate, etc. But taking your advice ... the workweek: Harvard's Juliet Schor calculated that if you took all the increases in productivity and applied them to shrinking the workweek (instead of enriching the 1%), over the course of the career of an average Baby Boomer it'd now be 6.5 hours. After the Black Plague made so much land free, it was 14 hours. In Economics of the Stone Age, they figure it was 2 hrs. We got some catching down to do!


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Jeffery wrote: "Harvard's Juliet Schor calculated that if you took all the increases in productivity and applied them to shrinking the workweek (instead of enriching the 1%), over the course of the career of an average Baby Boomer it'd now be 6.5 hours...."

Thanks for the heads-up and that's some interesting study! Such a shrinking would probably be too drastic and those who take business risks and propel themselves and their employees forward should enjoy the benefits (however up to a high cap, in my opinion). On the other hand, similarly to wealth's distribution, the workload's distribution also reaches the extremes with some dudes working maybe 15-16 hours and others being permanently unemployed. Not sure this is an optimal organization regarding both wealth and work..


message 21: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Nik, you make sense to. Up to me, I'd totally de-tax work (and de-subsidize all special interests).


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Jeffery wrote: "Nik, you make sense to. Up to me, I'd totally de-tax work (and de-subsidize all special interests)."

That sounds like a pretty good suggestion. However, from what I hear taxing work, which in many places is done by the employer at the source before the money even reaches an employee, and VAT/sales tax are the most easy taxes to administer and they are often responsible for the biggest chunk of all sovereign incomes.
Unfortunately, as regular bureaucrats tax authorities go after the easy prey. IRS and similar organizations sound really daunting, but may turn reluctant, unwilling and inadequate when they need to levy dues from international conglomerates and their stockholders, with activity spanning over dozens of jurisdictions with different tax treaties and so on... It's for a reason, in my opinion, tax laws are so difficult to understand that those who do or promote them, guard their loopholes..


message 23: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments This has the making of a very useful discussion. You are giving us quite a bit to think about Jeff and Nik and I will need time for my brain to catch up. But I can add a bit of useful insight to one topic. In the early seventies, under a Ted Heath government, when miners and other unions challenged the government and almost won (they did win, British style; declared a draw elsewhere) we were all on a three-day week. The interesting thing about this was that post statistics found that productivity did not suffer, and, in some indurstries, actually increased. I was not surprised by this because I had long analysed that the brain and body function best in short bursts and that prolonged, regulated activity slow both down. And Nik is right about working hours in most profitable business communities now; twelve to fifteen hour days is almost normal. Sure, they, like my son, get well payed but I once worked out his hourly rate and I think it came to less than the minimum wage.


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments One of the more obvious sociological changes is that as the required number of work hours decreases, employers tend to raise the number of hours worked, and fire as many staff as they can.


message 25: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Good to get rid of as many jobs as possible as soon as people. Life is supposed to have meaning. And there is another source of income. It's a myth we tell ourselves that all income must come from labor. Most jobs involve little labor, lots of waste. Check out the book, The World's Wasted Wealth. Cut out conformist work, leave only productive work, and the workweek could become the workday, the weekend could become the biggest portion of the week.


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments Yes, but you cannot have many doing nothing and getting no income. People earning income have a habit of disliking being taxed to provide for those not earning.


message 27: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments They dislike being taxed to provide for the poor, which is petty, cuz they never speak up about being taxed to provide for the rich, which is pretty wimpy in my book.


message 28: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments Good point, Jeffery


message 29: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Thanks, Ian. My hope is we'll devolve to that point in time (or re-volve to) when people understood the difference between private property (due to your work and/or smarts) and common wealth (due to nature's gifts). We could totally de-tax the former and share the latter, like Alaska's oil dividend.


message 30: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments Just to divert from the subject for a second; life has to have meaning, Jeff? Isn't that what's wrong with us that we believe that, that we can't just accept life as it is?


message 31: by Avnish (new)

Avnish Bhatia | 19 comments Revolutions have always been destructive, be it against cruel rulers or otherwise. Evolution is always constructive. That's why we see growth and development during peace time.


message 32: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Jeffery wrote: "They dislike being taxed to provide for the poor, which is petty, cuz they never speak up about being taxed to provide for the rich, which is pretty wimpy in my book."

Yeah and there is stigma of poor chaps being lazy and unambitious. I'm not sure, many realize how much exemptions and benefits are going back towards the rich...


message 33: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments P.K. wrote: "Just to divert from the subject for a second; life has to have meaning, Jeff? Isn't that what's wrong with us that we believe that, that we can't just accept life as it is?"

I'm not sure the quest after the meaning is necessarily negative and a meaningful life is kinda attractive -:)


message 34: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Avnish wrote: "Revolutions have always been destructive, be it against cruel rulers or otherwise. Evolution is always constructive. That's why we see growth and development during peace time."

Sure and revolution is cruel per se. I'm a fan of evolution, however cruel rulers are often oppressive to it, so a little bit of destruction may be inevitable in certain cases -:)


message 35: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2103 comments Jeffery wrote: "They dislike being taxed to provide for the poor, which is petty, cuz they never speak up about being taxed to provide for the rich, which is pretty wimpy in my book."

To play devil's advocate, the reasoning is that people dream of being rich and one day they may be that rich person getting the tax break. People fear they may someday be that poor person, but they don't dream of it...unfortunately we attack and hate what we don't want to be while we support what we want to be.

I think besides that, we see wealth as a sign of success and poverty as a sign of failure. And another way of looking at the situation is that higher taxes on the rich come across as a punishment for succeeding, while assistance for those that need it appears to be a reward for failure.

Not to argue that's how it is or how it should be, just that many see it that way. But you made an earlier point that is true no matter how you look at it: corporate welfare is welfare regardless of who gets it. If one does take the view that "success" should be rewarded, then those advantages cannot be given out to unbalance the race to the top and favor certain individuals/companies over others.


message 36: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Hear, hear, JJ. And PK, I agree. Nothing has meaning. Meaning is something between the ears. However, I think we're happier finding meaning in our lives. It's not an either/or, meaning vs acceptance. As a Yank, I can not accept injustice, the way some cultures do. I have no trouble with earthquakes, etc (sort of enjoy them, Mother Nature coming alive -- that's just me.)


message 37: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5192 comments For the very wealthy, there's a certain point at which a person's wealth far exceeds his needs or even his ability to spend that wealth. There should be a cap above which a person's income is taxed at a much higher rate and returned to the society which made such wealth possible.


message 38: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments There is no equality in nature is there? So why do we crave it?
My natural philosophy is to equate our lives with those of the other creatures of our planet and when I might rave about the power people get by their position or their wealth, I reflect on how nature seems to have created a chain where one creature feeds off another creature in order to survive. But the chain stopped with us. That is a scientific flaw that causes many of our problems. But the same system exists in our societies and trying to do something about it would be like reinventing creation.


message 39: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Scout, there is a certain point at which wealth could not have been earned. It had to handed over via corporate welfare and the like. Just quit wasting your tax dollars and you won't have to worry about caps which are artificial and intrusive and magnify the state. PK, please look at pre-agri society. Vastly more equality. The book 1491 is great on this point.


message 40: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Jeffery wrote: "Scout, there is a certain point at which wealth could not have been earned. It had to handed over via corporate welfare and the like..."

Could you, please, explain this point?
And if we take examples of say - Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook or our host here - Jeff Bezos, how would their wealth originate from corporate welfare?


message 41: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments Jeff, without doing that research (1491?), do you mean hunter-gatherer period? There was then a better chance of equality because the goal was, to find something to eat. But even then, depending on the period, tribes were formed and outsted other tribes from good hunting grounds and then ownership was developed which, to this day, limits fishing rights to individual owners. Of course, if one goes back far enough when people were vastly outnumbered by other species and no one owned land, then that was true equality. Do you think nature is building up to a solution, another meteor strike? Then we all start again?


message 42: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments J.J. wrote: "To play devil's advocate, the reasoning is that people dream of being rich and one day they may be that rich person getting the tax break. People fear they may someday be that poor person, but they don't dream of it...unfortunately we attack and hate what we don't want to be while we support what we want to be.

I think besides that, we see wealth as a sign of success and poverty as a sign of failure. ."


I think this is a well captured psychological explanation


message 43: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Nik, if you were in business, you would charge as much as the market can bear. If you were to run government as a business, you'd do the same thing. You'd not give away patents and copyrights for a mere filing fee. You'd hold auctions. If somebody wants a monopoly -- to fence off the field of knowledge -- they'd pay what it's worth. You can read that 80% of the stock market is patent and copyright "rent" to use the technical term. There are many more rents that now erect a 1% while rents could, once considered a common wealth, could make taxes unnecessary and still leave enough leftover to fund a dividend to the citizenry, a la Alaska's oil dividend. What's funny is Zuck and Bezos (who get 1000s of patents and copyrights each year for no other reason than to fence you out) understand this while the public don't. You'd have to be an omnivorous reader to ever come across such reasoning.


message 44: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments P.K. wrote: "Jeff, without doing that research (1491?), do you mean hunter-gatherer period? There was then a better chance of equality because the goal was, to find something to eat. But even then, depending on..."

Hi, PK. We've moved from individual inequality to tribal. Which was true but not too bad, judging by people voting with their feet. Colonists lost members to tribes, not vice versa. Thing is, social norms exaggerate individual talents. Messi can be a multi-millionaire in Europe, not in America, where we don't play soccer (fútbol). Social norms constantly evolve. To a degree, we aware people can guide that evolution. Make sure that every penny earned is kept, every kept penny is earned, whether earned by individual or society.


message 45: by Nik (last edited May 28, 2017 10:28AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Jeffery wrote: "You'd have to be an omnivorous reader to ever come across such reasoning. ..."

Or I can ask you -:)
That's very true that those at the top, inter alia, buy out everything that can potentially become a threat, hence Facebook purchasing Whatsapp for 16 or so Bills and all those mega-transactions and that exemplifies what you say that corporations are willing to pay a lot to preserve their standing.
I'm not even sure that Facebook is patentable in any way.
So you suggest to exact a 'real' price from the rights they enjoy and distribute the proceeds among the citizens?
I can understand that a gas field as a natural resource may belong to all the people and an owner of the concession should pay for it, but with intellectual property - it's often invented by the proprietor or bought and developed by him, so what's here to pay for? For that the state would actually protect his/her IP? You mean let's say, we don't recognize Intellectual property and if you invented something, we sell your invention to the highest bidder to have a monopoly for 20 years enjoying it?

Besides, don't know whether it's still true regarding Coca Cola, but there are companies that never even ask for a patent, because of its temporary nature and just preserve some recipe as a corporate secret.


message 46: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments I'm not sure I'm understanding a lot of this but I like JJ's quip that poverty is seen as a sign of failure. I think that is very true of US which was founded on corporatism and continues to be run by it. Because there were so many opportunities to make vast empires in a new country with old counrty know-how and money, it was perceived by the neuvau riche that poverty was a sign of laziness and the preaching of 'get rich' politicians made people believe that anyone can be a millionaire. Hence the belief that social welfare is something to be ashamed of and if individuals can't make a living; tough. It is all part of many attitudes steeped in US makeup. Like, 'anyone can be President' - as long as they happen to be a billionaire too. (but Trump, even as a billionaire, is still an anyone). In Europe, where we have a long tradition of 1% of the population owning 95% of the wealth, we do manage to respect poverty and support social welfare because of it.


message 47: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9229 comments Where you have private ownership of resources that are limited, the mathematics of game theory mean that sooner or later whoever controls that resource area becomes rich enough to squeeze out competition and at that point riches grow exponentially. At the very beginning, competition means there are a number of failures along the way, but money will scoop up those failures and lead to oligarchic control. Read up on the history of Rockefeller or Morgan. A bit of a lucky start, and being outright more ruthless than their competition, and they scoop up the wealth. The problem then grows because the next generation is already highly divided. People like Bezos, Gates and Zuckerburg were fortunate enough to be around when rather surprisingly new opportunities arose that did not need major capital to get going. The problem now for wannabes is, do such opportunities now still exist? They never were that easy to see.


message 48: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments Nik wrote: "Jeffery wrote: "You'd have to be an omnivorous reader to ever come across such reasoning. ..."

Or I can ask you -:)
That's very true that those at the top, inter alia, buy out everything that can ..."


Hi, PK. IP is a euphemism for monopoly. IP can exist without P/C. If you're the first on the moon, do you own all the moon? If you're the first to figure out a computer code, do you own that arrangement of logical symbols forever? Should Newton and Leibniz share ownership of calculus? If so, and you want to involve the state as your strongman, then pay for it. Some companies forgo patents/copyrights and go for a head start and unassailable market share. If Zuck, Gates, et al were born before the chip, they'd be no more than low-level flunkies in an insurance company, having been bullied all through school. Like Newton said, if I've seen farther than others, it's because I stood on the shoulders of giants. BTW, commons used to be the norm among tribes in the Pacific NW. Commons lasted in Europe for centuries, and still exist to some extent (your greenbelts). Knowledge is a commons, too. Or, every time you tell a joke, you should find somebody to pay.


message 49: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery J. | 96 comments P.K. wrote: "I'm not sure I'm understanding a lot of this but I like JJ's quip that poverty is seen as a sign of failure. I think that is very true of US which was founded on corporatism and continues to be run..."

Ian, guys like Rockefeller and Carnegie got huge state favors, too. They were never prosecuted for murder, despite the thugs in their employ murdering people. There were never prosecuted for theft, despite stealing the business secrets of their competitors. They never paid "rent" or royalties equivalent to the "rental" (technical term) value of natural resources. Etc. They benefit hugely from normalcy bias, in which people assume that what is (or was) is how it should be. Really? Like the US bailed out bankers with trillions and trillions while Iceland put their white-collar crooks in jail. Another reality is possible.


message 50: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13089 comments Jeffery wrote: "Hi, PK. IP is a euphemism for monopoly. IP can exist without P/C. If you're the first on the moon, do you own all the moon? If you're the first to figure out a computer code, do you own that arrangement of logical symbols forever? Should Newton and Leibniz share ownership of calculus?..."

That's more toward my (Nik's) question, I guess.
At this stage - I'm not sure, I'm for or against your suggestion, just making sure I understand correctly what you mean. Of course, intellectual property is a construct trying to balance a reward for an inventor and thus encourage inventing and sharing and a public interest in it becoming available. That's why it's temporary.
As far as I understand a generic pharmaceutical are based on expiry of patents to produce popular medicine the minute a patent expires.
Apple suing Samsung comes to mind, where the latter seemed a little less particular about IP rights..
I can probably think of different arguments for and against what you propose, but I'm not sure I'm against the underlying assumption (given I understand it correctly) that the knowledge is a common asset and an inventor claiming temporary ownership over any part thereof needs to pay higher royalties for being able to do so.


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